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LIBRARY OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 

PRINCETON. N. J. 



PRESENTED BY 

Mr. Ho el Lawrence McQueen 

Division O O . ^ vj 'T / 
Section - 1 J^lLj. J?4 

V. I 



'f' 






EXPLANATORY AND PRACTICAL COMMENTARY 

ON 

THE NEW TESTAMENT 

INTENDED CHIEFLY AS A HELP TO FAMILY DEVOTION. 



EDITED AND CONTINUED 

BY THE REV. W. DALTON, B. D. 

INCUMBENT OF ST. PAUL's CHURCH, WOLVERHAMPTON. 



VOL. I. 

CONTAINING THE GOSPELS AND ACTS. 



THIRD EDITION. 



FLEET STREET, and HANOVER STREET : 



LEONARD SKELEV, PRINTER. 



PREFACE. 



" The following work was undertaken for the assistance of those 
who value the ordinance of family worship. It will be found to 
contain explanatory and practical lectures on the New Testa- 
ment, conveyed in such plain, intelligible language as will best 
suit the capacities of the various branches of a family." This 
may suffice to explain the design of the author in undertaking 
this commentary ; it remains for me to state the reasons which 
induced me to enter on the responsible task of revision. 

Having been conversant with the circumstances under which 
this work was commenced, I felt a more than ordinary interest 
in its progress, and I was thankful to find that as each part was 
completed and pubHshed, it obtained an extensive circulation — 
its scriptural tone and great simplicity seem to have com- 
mended the work as well adapted to family devotion. One 
great disadvantage however usually attends the publication of 
works in parts or numbers. The mind of the writer is often 
distracted by subjects of an uncongenial kind, and the interest 
of the reader is greatly diminished by the necessary delay. In 
this case, the intervals which elapsed between the publication of 
the different parts, had a serious effect on the work itself. The 
tone and simplicity of the first volume was not sustained in 
the second. Many parts of the Epistles were but slightly 
touched upon, and the comments on the rest were evidently 
written during a pressure of ministerial engagements, or unpro- 
pitious events. It was therefore very generally felt, that a revi- 
sion and continuation were required to complete the work, and 
it may be regarded as a remarkable coincidence, that the pub- 
lishers, on the decease of the estimable author, called me to this 



iv PREFACE. 

work, without being aware that I had been so much occupied 
in looking over the earher part of the exposition. 

It has not appeared expedient to mark the alterations made in 
this revision — suffice it to say, that the first edition has been 
selected as the basis of all my editorial labors. In the first vo- 
lume, the largest portion of the original matter has been pre- 
served — occasionally short paragraphs have been omitted, and 
new matter introduced — in some instances, the lectures have 
been subdivided, and a fuller exposition given to each part. In 
revising the second volume, I found it necessary to m.ake still 
greater alterations. The author appears to have thought it im- 
possible to give anything like a satisfactory view of the inspired 
epistles in the short compass of these lectures, and, therefore, 
often merged the explanatory part in the practical. This gave 
an unfinished aspect to the second volume. The editor's labours 
had, therefore, to tend rather towards a continuation than a re- 
vision. The union of plain exposition with deep, practical appli- 
cation of truth, so happily pervading the first volume, was once 
more to be attempted. 

To remedy the deficiency just mentioned, the first necessary 
step was to take a smaller portion of the sacred word for each 
lecture, and thus, without lengthening the exposition to an un- 
due extent, a greater scope was given for explanatory com- 
ments. In many instances this was easily effected ; but in the 
Epistles to the Eomans and to the Hebrews, and a large portion 
of the book of Revelation, I found it necessary to remodel the 
whole, and to write the exposition de novo, retaining as much of 
the original matter as could be made available' in so extensive a 
change. An amount of responsibility thus devolved on me, 
which I had little expected, when I undertook the work. How 
far I have been able to carry out the original features of 
this commentary, or expound a large portion of the sacred vo- 
lume with simplicity, faithfulness and conciseness, it is not for 
me to decide. The deep responsibihty of commenting on the 
words of the living God, has often weighed me down — the feel- 
ing of creature-incompetency has never in any period of my 
life been more painfully experienced. But I have done what I 
could. I feel thankful to my heavenly Father who has often 
heard my prayer, and given me help in this arduous work, and 
to his gracious benediction I commend my poor labours, under 
the deep persuasion that we write in vain and read in vain, 
where God is not with us in the quickening energy of the Spirit 
of truth. 



PREFACE. V 

In the present day there is a great temptation to regard com- 
mentaries on the Word of God in a wrong light. Some would 
set them aside altogether, and even intimate a doubt of their 
lawfulness and value. These objections are, however very in- 
consistent. Every sermon and conversation on the word of Hfe 
may be regarded as a commentary, and yet few, if any, consider 
themselves independent of such helps. Such objections are pro- 
ductive of evil effects : they almost invariably lead to confined 
meagre views of divine truth, and a great scantiness of biblical 
knowledge. Others are inclined to depend too implicitly on 
favourite commentators, and to receive their explanation of the 
scriptures without further inquiry. The consequences must be 
disastrous : the teaching of the Divine Comforter is not sought 
in earnest prayer — the soul is not nourished by the sincere milk 
of the word, nor the inner man moulded according to the expan- 
sive requirements of a holy God. The true wisdom lies in avoid- 
ing all such extremes : we should use the many helps which God 
has bestowed, without leaning on any arm but his own. The 
explanations of man will then be kept in their true position ; 
they will be resorted to as a means to an end. The channel of 
appointed ordinances will then lead us up to the very fountain 
head of truth : the inspired word will then be found " able to 
make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ 
Jesus." 

It is only necessary to add, that to the original work, forms 
of prayers for family worship were appended ; these extended to 
one month, besides forms of prayer and thanksgiving for the 
Christian festivals and various occasions, and were equally dis- 
tributed in the two volumes. All this arrangement has been 
allowed to remain, and the alterations have been confined to a 
few phrases and words. 

W. D. 



In the Second Edition, some alterations have been made. 
The whole of the sacred text of the New Testament has been 
inserted, and by a judicious arrangement of the page, the pub- 
lishers have been able to make this valuable addition without 
increasing the expence of the work. For the convenience of 
family reading, the lectures have been still further subdivided, 
and hence some portions of the Epistles have been more fully 
explained. This has required the introduction of fresh comments 
to a«considerable amount. Biblical criticism has been attempted 
for the first time. A few notes explanatory of Greek phrases 
and expressions, have been added at the bottom of the page, or 
at the end of the lectures. In this way, the practical nature of 
the work has been retained : the English reader need not be in- 
terrupted in his course, and yet difficulties may have been eluci- 
dated by the assistance of the original language. In this edition 
the references to the ancient commentators have been more fre- 
quent, and the writers who have given a full explanation of 
particular subjects, have been carefully noted. 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION, 



When the publishers informed me that another edition of this 
practical Commentary on the New Testament was required, I 
felt it to be my duty to revise the whole with great care. 
First, because it is the duty of a Commentator, however hum- 
ble his pretensions may be, to put forth nothing that is crude 
and undigested — nothing, in fact, but what he conscientiously 
believes is in accordance with the mind of the Spirit. And, 
secondly, because this work being increasingly used in family 
worship and for private meditation, I felt anxious to make it as 
useful as I could. This has been my great aim and prayer — 
and humbly but sincerely do I praise the Great Head of the 
Church, if he has permitted me to be a help to any in their 
enquiry into the meaning and power of the Word of the living 
God. 

Generally speaking, the expository part of this Commentary 
remains the same as in former editions. In a few instances, 
I have been led to take a different view of difficult passages, 
but I am thankful to add, that these instances are very few. 
To the practical parts, I have made several additions — by in- 
serting more lengthened observations — which a further division 
of some chapters permitted me to do, without making the 
lectures too prolix. 



viii PREFACE. 

The chief additional matter is contained in the notes at the 
bottom of the pages or at the close of the lectures. I com- 
menced this mode of elucidating difficulties in the last edition, 
without interrupting the plain and practical strain of the lec- 
tures. This proved acceptable to many readers, and especially 
to many of my brethren in the ministry. In this edition I 
have given great attention to this concise exposition of difficul- 
ties, and I have referred the reader to those writers who 
have discussed the passages more fully. 

For the first time an Index has been added to these volumes, 

with the design of facilitating reference to important subjects, 

especially when the reader may not be able to recollect the 

chapters where they occur. 

W. D. 

April, 1848. 



INTRODUCTORY LECTURE, 



We have now before us the New Testament of our Lord 
AND Saviour Jesus Christ — a name which is applied to the 
second part of the Holy Bible — it being the testament or will 
of the Lord Jesus to his beloved church. 

If we retain, as in our translation, the word " Testament," 
we are led to contemplate all the blessings of the gospel dis- 
pensation, as conveyed to us in the will and bequest of the 
great Head of the church ; which he has sealed with his own 
blood. In this view the Lord Jesus far exceeds all other testa- 
tors — not only because the contents of his will are of eternal 
moment, and theirs of a transitory nature ; but because other 
testators must die to make their wills valid, and, when dead, 
must leave the administration to others ; not so with the Lord 
Jesus. He died indeed, and thereby confirmed his testament ; 
but he ever liveth to see the whole purposes of his will fulfilled 
— so that this charter of grace is well called, " The New Testa- 
ment of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 

The word which is rendered " Testament," may also be trans- 
lated " Covenant, " — and considering that the word is adopted 
from the Jewish dispensation and scriptures, we may conclude 
that " Covenant " is the proper term for both portions of the 
Bible. God has in infinite mercy considered our state and 
misery in the counsels of Eternity. All the wants and miseries 
of his people have been before his prescient eye, and he has 
made full provision for their relief in the purposes of his ever- 

VOL. I. B 



2 INTRODUCTORY LECTURE. 

lasting love. In due time the counsels of a tri-une Jehovah 
were unfolded to us, by his own perfect revelation. With 
many minor divisions, it is chiefly to be considered in the two 
great dispensations — the one previous to the incarnation of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and the other — subsequent to it — and those 
we usually call the Old and New Testaments, but which may 
be more significantly termed the Old and New Dispensations — 
the volumes of the great and everlasting covenant. 

We are now about to enter on the New Testament portion 
of the Bible, and this is called Neiv — not because it contains 
anything of a contrary tendency to the Old Testament, but by 
way of distinction. The events here recorded inform the 
church of the fulfilment of what went before, and which was 
promised in the writings of the prophets ; and it is properly 
called the Neiv Testament, because the proclamation of mercy 
contained in it, was not so clearly made known in other ages 
unto the sons of men, " as it is now revealed unto us by the 
Spirit." 

With respect to the contents of this holy volume, it will be 
sufficient to observe, that we have in it the gospel history, ac- 
cording to the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. 
They relate all the interesting particulars of the incarnation, 
life, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of the 
great Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. To these succeed the 
book of records, called, " The Acts of the Apostles," or the 
history of the church after the ascension of Christ, and the 
descent of the Holy Ghost. Then follow the epistles of the 
several inspired writers, whose names they bear ; and, lastly, the 
book of Revelation, which closes the sacred canon of the 
Scripture. All which we should " read, mark, learn, and in- 
wardly digest," as the Scriptures of truth, given by the inspira- 
tion of God ; the writers were men like us — in themselves full 
of infirmities and sin, but they were selected by God for com- 
municating his mind to this fallen world— and, as such, they 
were abundantly guided by the Spirit of truth, in the execution 
of the work. They did not give us their own reasonings and 
suppositions on religion, but they were so directed by God in 
the communication of his counsel, that they revealed to us truth 
without any mixture of error. We do not value these writings, 
because St. John or St. Paul wrote to us their own sentiments ; 
but because the Lord God Almighty sent them as an inspired 
message to a guilty world. 

We are now about to commence the gospel according to St. 



INTRODUCTORY LECTURE. 3 

Matthew. The word gospel, you will remember, signifies good 
news, or glad tidings ; and this history of Christ's coming into 
the world to save sinners, is, without doubt, the best news that 
ever came from heaven to earth. 

St. Matthew is the earhest writer of this gospel history.* He 
was by birth a Jew — by calling, a publican, or tax-gatherer, till 
Christ commanded his attendance, and then he left the receipt 
of custom to follow the Lord. 

Let us pause here, and consider of whom we are about to read. 
It is of that wonderful and glorious being — the Lord Jesus 
Christ, that the New Testament treats ; let us then be con- 
stantly on the look-out for Him who is the absorbing object — 
everywhere presented, and everywhere spoken of. As the 
design of the Old Testament was all along directed to testify of 
Jesus, the true Messiah — for of him, " Moses and the prophets 
did write," so the great purpose, we are expressly told, for 
which the things of the Neiv were written, was " that we might 
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, 
believing, we might have life through his name." f 

* The date of his gospel was probably a. d. 37 or 38 ; but, as it was most likely 
written in Hebrew as well as Greek, we can easily imagine that the date assigned 
by Irenaeus, a.d. 61, would have had great weight with the early church, 
t John XX. 31 . 



Note. — If the reader wishes to pursue the subject of the " Covenants " into any 
thing like detail, he can peruse the learned work of Herman Witsius 
"The Economy of the I Covenants between God and Man." Elsley in his 
Annotations has also some excellent extracts on this subject, at the beginning 
of his first volume. 



B 2 



THE GOSPEL 



ACCORDING TO 



St. MATTHEW, 



CHAP, I 



THE GENEALOGY OF CHRIST HIS CONCEPTION HIS NAMES. 



The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of 
Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac ; and Isaac begat Jacob ; and Jacob 
begat Judas and his brethren : And Judas begat Phares and Zara of 
Thamar ; and Phares begat Esrom ; and Esrom begat Aram ; And Aram 
begat Aminadab ; and Aminadab begat Naasson ; and Naasson begat 
Salmon ; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab ; and Booz begat Obed of 
Ruth ; and Obed begat Jesse ; And Jesse begat David the king ; and 
David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias ; And 
Solomon begat Roboam ; and Roboam begat Abia ; and Abia begat Asa ; 
And Asa begat Josaphat ; and Josaphat begat Joram ; and Joram begat 
Ozias ; And Ozias begat Joatham ; and Joatham begat Achaz ; and 
Achaz begat Ezekias ; and Ezekias begat Manasses ; and Manasses begat 
Amon ; and Anion begat Josias ; and Josias begat Jechonias and his 
brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon ; And after 
they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel ; and Salathiel 
begat Zorobabel ; And Zorobabel begat Abiud ; and Abiud begat Eliakim ; 
and Eliakim begat Azor ; And Azor begat Sadoc ; and Sadoc begat 
Achim ; and Achim begat Eliud ; And Eliud begat Eleazar ; and Eleazar 
begat Matthan ; and Matthan begat Jacob ; And Jacob begat Joseph the 
husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So 
all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations ; 
and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen 
generations ; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are 
fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : 
When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came 
together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her 
husband, being a just maw, and not willing to make her a public example, was 
minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things. 



6 S. MATTHEW. [cuap. i. 

behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Jo- 
seph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife ; for 
that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring 
forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS ; for he shall save his 
people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying. Behold, a virgin 
shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name 
Emmanuel ; which being interpreted, is, God with us. Then Joseph, being 
raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took 
unto him his vdfe : And knew her not till she had brought forth her first- 
born son : and he called his name JESUS. 

The Gospel history opens in a very striking and peculiar man- 
ner. The Old Testament begins with the account of the 
creation ; but the New Testament begins with the account of 
Him by whom all things were created. The design of the 
pedigree given in this chapter, is to prove that Christ was de- 
scended both from Abraham and David, from whom it was ex- 
pressly promised, that the Messiah should " come according to 
the flesh." It was therefore necessary, in the first place, to show 
the fulfilment of such a promise, and this St. Matthew does, 
fully and satisfactorily, tracing a clear and distinct line from 
Abraham, and so through David, till he arrived at the birth of 
" Jesus, who is called Christ." * The word Christ signifies 
" anointed ; " and includes in it his threefold office of prophet, 
priest, and king : hence David, when speaking of him in the 
spirit of prophecy, says, that he was " anointed with the oil of 
gladness above his fellows." t From this significant name, all 
his followers are called " Christians." 

We have in these verses an account of the miraculous con- 
ception and birth of the Lord Jesus. It was intimated from the 
beginning that the Messiah should be born of a virgin ; and 
though, to human wisdom, this seemed impossible, yet in the 
fulness of God's time we find it accomplished, and his name was 
called Jesus. The word Jesus is the same with Joshua.'J; There 
were two of that name spoken of in the Old Testament, who 
were both illustrious types of Christ — Joshua, who was Israel's 
captain at their first settlement in Canaan ; and another Joshua, 

* The genealogy of our Lord, given by St. Matthew, differs in some respects 
from that found in Luke iii. 23, &c., because the former was written for the Jews, 
and therefore traces the pedigree of Christ from Abraham to David, and from 
him, through Solomon's line to Jacob, the father of Joseph, the reputed or legal 
father of Christ, whereas St. Luke wrote for the Gentiles, and therefore traces 
the pedigree upwards from Heli, the father of Mary, to David, through the line 
of his son, Nathan, and through him to Abraham. — See Home's Introduction, 
vol. i. p. 685. 

t Psalm xlv. 7. ± See Heb. iv. 8. 



CHAP. I.] S. MATTHEW. 7 

who was their high priest at their second settlement after the 
captivity.^ Christ is our Joshua — both the " captain of our 
salvation," and "the high priest of our profession." The reason 
why he was called Jesus, is also told us — " because he shall save 
his people from their sins ; " not merely from their guilt, but 
from their power — and being delivered from the bondage of 
corruption, the people of God know experimentally, that the 
name " Jesus " signifies the Saviour." This text stands in 
the front of the New Testament as the groundwork of the 
whole, and all that follows is only a further opening of it. You 
should, therefore, seek to understand the sacred meaning of the 
name Jesus, and then to enter into its full import in your own 
experience. Consider yourself as a guilty, helpless creature, 
perishing in sin, and then every word he spoke, and every mira- 
cle he wrought, will draw you to him for the salvation you want, 
and which he alone can bestow. 

Another name is also given to the Son of God in these 
verses ; " They shall call his name Emmanuel," the meaning of 
which is, " God with us" — " God manifest in the flesh,"- — 
taking our nature into union with his own, that we might be 
" joined to the Lord by one spirit." The Jews had God with 
them in types and shadows, and dwelling between the Cheru- 
bims : but their temple is destroyed, and God has withdrawn 
himself. Not so with us — we still have Emmanuel — " God 
with us ; " for though we cannot see his bodily form — we know 
that he has taken our nature into eternal union with his deity, 
and hence, as God-man, he ever liveth to make intercession for 
us. His people may come boldly unto the throne of grace ; for 
he who sits there, looks upon them as " bone of his bone, and flesh 
of his flesh." 

Have you thus come to Christ ? Can you, from your own 
experience, call his name "Jesus? " Has he saved you from 
your sins ? Nothing short of this will benefit you. If your 
body was afflicted with a painful disease, what would it avail you 
to hear that there was an infallible physician at hand, unless you 
sent for him to prescribe for you ; and of what use could he be, 
unless you followed his prescriptions ? Apply this to yourselves ; 
— know that your souls are diseased by sin, and that a sovereign 
physician is near : his name is Emmanuel ; " God with us ; " he 
has a balm for every wound. Study his prescriptions, which are 
written in his holy word ; believe in his name, that you may be 

* Zech. iii. 1. 



8 S. MATTHEW. [chap. ii. 

Christians in truth, and, having received of his Holy Spirit, you 
will then rejoice in the name of Jesus, because he saves his 
people from their sins. 

Note. — Although Jesus is called "the first-born," we cannot thence infer that 
Mary had other children. Grotius has well remarked, " that the word " first " 
proves that no one preceded, but it does not show that another followed." 



CHAP. H. 



THE WISE MEN COME TO CHRIST, AND WORSHIP HIM JOSEPH FLEETH INTO EGYPT. 

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the 
king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying. 
Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in 
the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard 
these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he 
had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he 
demanded of them where Christ shovild be born. And they said vinto him. 
In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is written by the prophet. And thou 
Bethlehem, in the laud of Juda, art not the least among the princes of 
Juda : for out of thee shall come a governor, that shall rule my people 
Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of 
them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Beth- 
lehem ; and said. Go and search diligently for the young child ; and when 
ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him 
also. When they had heard the king, they departed ; and, lo, the star, 
which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over 
where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with 
exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw 
the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped 
him : and when they had opened their treasures, they presented vuito him 
gifts ; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh . And being warned of God in 
a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their 
own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the 
angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying. Arise, and take 
the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there 
until I bring thee word : for Herod will seek the young child, to destroy 
him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, 
and departed into Egypt : And was there until the death of Herod, that it 
might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying. 
Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod when he saw that he 
was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and 
slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, 
from two years old and under, according to the time which he had dili- 
gently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken 
by Jeremy the prophet, saying. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamen- 
tation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping /o>- her children, 
and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was 
dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in 



CHAP. II.] S. MATTHEW. 9 

Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go 
into the land of Israel : for they are dead which sought the young child's 
life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came 
into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in 
Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : not- 
withstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the 
parts of Galilee : And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth : that 
it might be fulfilled wliich was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called 
a Nazarene. 

The time of our Lord's birth is here stated to have been in the 
days of Herod the king. It had been foretold by Jacob, in the 
book of Genesis, " that the sceptre should not depart from 
Judah, till Shiloh came." * — And it is a remarkable fact that the 
Jews retained the distinction of tribes and a government of their 
own, until near the period of the birth of Jesus — they were then 
deprived of their own sceptre and placed under the Roman sway. 
The sceptre therefore had departed from them, and this circum- 
stance alone should have shown the Jews that this was the 
appointed time in which Shiloh, or the Messiah, might be 
expected. 

It was a mark of humihation put upon the Lord Jesus, that 
though he was the desire of all nations, yet his birth was obscure 
and unregarded. The first who took notice of him, were the 
shepherds, to whom the vision of angels appeared. After that, 
Simeon and Annaf spake of him by the Spirit to all who were 
disposed to heed what they said. We might have expected that 
the men of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, would now have 
embraced him as their long-expected Messiah ; but no farther 
notice appears to have been taken of him, till wise men came 
from the east, most probably from Arabia or Persia, where 
many of their Magi or philosophers Hved.J The star was not 
one of the heavenly bodies that appear in the sky at night, 
such as the fixed stars and planets, but a luminous meteor that 
had the appearance of a star, but which shone by day as well as 
by night. These Magi were evidently gentiles, and may there- 
fore be looked on as first fruits of the great company of believers, 
who should be gathered to Christ out of all nations. The Lord 
caused this bright meteor to appear to these wise men, that their 

* Gen. xlix. 10. t Luke ii. 20,-38, 

X Theophylact holds that the Magi came from Persia, and that the}' were 
descendants of Balaam, whose prophecy, Numb. xxiv. 17, was now fulfilled. — 
Greswell has shewn that it would require four months to come from Persia to 
Jerusalem, and conjectures that the star appeared to the ]\Iagi both at the 
incarnation and the birth of Christ. — Vol. ii. p. 144 of Dissertations on the 
Gospel Harmony. 



10 S. MATTHEW. [chap. ii. 

attention might be attracted, and then he revealed to them, that 
the star was intended to announce the birth of him who was to be 
the king of the Jews. Being thus informed, they proceeded to 
visit the new-born king, and came to Jerusalem : but, as it often 
happens, they who are nearest to the means, are farthest from 
the end. The Jews were ignorant of the Messiah's birth, till 
Herod, having called a council of the chief priests and scribes, 
inquired where Christ should be born. Bethlehem was soon 
reported as the place destined to that honour ; thither the wise 
men bent their steps, and though the town was but seven miles 
distant from Jerusalem, we do not hear that a single Jew accom- 
panied them. The star which at first appeared to them became 
visible again, and directed them to the house where the young 
child lay. How strong must their faith have been ! After so 
long a journey they were not disappointed at finding the object 
of their desire with every mark of external povertv : they fell 
down and worshipped him, (an honour which \we do not hear 
they observed towards Herod ;) they first presented themselves, 
and then they offered their gifts. 

The rage and jealousy of Herod are strikingly manifest ; 
having directed the wise men to return with information, as 
though he would go and worship Christ himself, and being baffled 
in this project, though now seventy years of age, so great was 
his dread of a rival, that he formed the murderous plan of an 
infant massacre, and actually carried it into execution. But his 
attempts were vain. The Lord removed his Son into Egypt, 
where he remained till the storm had blown over, and afterwards 
brought him to Nazareth, in fulfilment of prophecy. Thus, 
instead of frustrating the designs of heaven, Herod, unwittingly, 
fulfilled them, occasioning by this very act, no less than three 
prophecies to be accomplished.* Thus it is with all who set 
themselves against God ; they may show their malignity, but 
cannot counteract his designs. 

We may learn much from this chapter, and especially from the 
conduct of the wise men of the East : they came from afar to seek 
Jesus — they undertook a long and expensive journey — they 

* Hosea xi. 1, primarily belongs to the sons of Israel called out of Egypt, but 
is applied to the Son of the Most High. Jer. xxxi. 15. "A voice in Ramah," 
refers chiefly to the mourning captives, placed there by Nebuzaradan, but 
is justly applied to tiie massacre of the children at Bethlehem, and the parts 
round about. — " He shall be called a Nazarene," was not the prediction of any 
one prophet, but of tlie pro2)hets, who declared that Messiah should be " despised 
of men," and l)y dwelling at Nazareth, a place ill spoken of (see John i. 4G,) 
Jesus was called* the Nazarene, or the despised one. 



CHAP. III.] S. MATTHEW. 11 

had dangers to encounter, and difficulties to overcome — yet they 
persevered to the end, and never ceased from their labours till 
they found him whom they sought. Thus let us not regard 
scoffs, or difficulties, or dangers that we may have to encounter 
in the way of duty ; let us resolutely seek the Lord Jesus till we 
have found him. He is pointed out to us, not by a star, but by 
" the more sure word of prophecy." Let us all go on without 
weariness or fear, and still prosecute our inquiries after him, 
till we can say, " I have found him whom my soul loveth." — 
Whatever others may do, let us serve the Lord. If they will 
not go to glory with us, we must not go to hell with them. Is 
your desire after Christ such as is here described ? Are you 
thus seeking him ? Be assured that nothing else is so much 
worth your seeking. If you have found him, present to him 
all that you are, and all that you have. Let your body, soul, 
and spirit, be consecrated to him ; first make a surrender of 
yourselves, and then let your substance be employed in his 



CHAP. HI. 



THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST HE BAPTIZETH CHRIST IN JORDAN. 

Ill those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judsea, 
And saying. Repent ye : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this 
is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying. The voice of one 
cr}ang in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths 
straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a 
leathern girdle about his loins ; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judsea, and all the region round 
about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his bap- 
tism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you 
to flee from the wrath to come ? Bring forth therefore friuts meet for re- 
pentance : And thmk not to say within yourselves, We have iVbraham to 
our father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up 
children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the 
trees : therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn 
down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repen- 
tance : but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am 
not worthy to bear : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and tvith 
fire : Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and 
gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the chaff" with un- 
quenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Gahlee to Jordan unto John, to 
be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be 
baptized of thee, and comest thou to me ? And Jesus answering said unto 
him, Suff'er it to be so now : for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteous- 



12 S. MATTHEW. [chap. iir. 

ness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went 
up straightway out of the water : and, ]o, the heavens were opened unto 
him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending hke a dove, and hghting 
upon him : And lo a voice from heaven, saying. This is my beloved Son, in 
whom I am well pleased. 

" Those days," which are mentioned in the first verse, signify 
the time whilst Jesus dwelt at Nazareth, and before he entered 
upon his ministry. The Scriptures are silent concerninghis youth, 
except where they tell us that he conversed with the doctors in 
the temple at the age of twelve years, both hearing them and 
asking them questions,* neither do we hear any thing of the 
early life of John the Baptist : his birth had been the subject of 
prophecy, and St. Matthew first introduces him to our notice as 
preaching in the wilderness of Judea.f Officers are sent before 
great men to clear their way ; so John, according to the tenor 
of prophecy, came as our Lord's forerunner " to prepare his 
way, and to make his paths straight."! He hved in the wilder- 
ness and was supported by the plainest diet, to bespeak the self- 
denying nature of his Master's kingdom ; and thus he reminded 
the Jews that they ought to expect Jesus as the man of sorrows, 
before he came as the triumphant king. 

The Baptist came preaching the doctrine of repentance. Re- 
pentance signifies a change of heart, and consequently a change 
of life. This preaching appears to have been wonderfully suc- 
cessful, insomuch that the people of Jerusalem and Judea came 
to be baptized of him. Amongst this multitude came many 
Pharisees and Sadducees, desiring to be numbered among his 
disciples : at this he was astonished, because the Pharisees were 
conceited of their own goodness, and were zealous for the tra- 
ditions of the elders : the Sadducees, on the other hand, despised 
religion altogether, denying the existence of spirits, and a future 
state. But John, like a faithful minister, addressed them with 
all plainness, and spoke home to their consciences. What he 
said to them, he said to the multitude, and says also to us, for 
we are all concerned in it. First, he preached repentance, and 
practically showed what it was, by endeavouring to lay the axe 
of God's word at the root of sin in their hearts, that they might 
brino^ forth fruits answerable to a real chano^e of heart. Do not 
imagine that repentance means only a sorrow for past sm, with 

* Luke ii. 42 — 46. 
t " The wilderness of Judea " embraced not only the mountains and some of 
the plains along the Jordan, but also the hill country south of Jerusalem — of 
which IIel)rou — John's native place, was the largest city. See Josephus. Wars, 
lib. iii. c. 35. " + Isaiah xl. 3. 



CHAP. III.] S. MATTHEW. LI 

a determination of amendment in future ! It implies also that 
you have a new view of God in Christ, as well as of your own 
heart. Neither must you make your repentance a Saviour. It 
is to show you the vileness of sin and your need of Christ, but 
not to wash away sin by tears of contrition ; know then that 
your sense of sin must lead you to Christ, whose blood can 
cleanse away all that is past ; and know further, that repentance 
(which means a total change of heart) is the gift of God, for 
" God hath exalted Jesus as a Prince and a Saviour to give re- 
pentance and forgiveness of sins." * 

Observe next, in John's sermon, the distinction which he 
makes between his baptism, and that of Christ. He could only 
baptize with water, but Christ was to baptize with the Holy 
Ghost. John's ministry was only preparatory to Christ's : as 
the washing of water removes the filth of the flesh, so the Holy 
Spirit, which was represented by the water, and which Christ 
bestows, removes the foul desires of the heart. Water cleanses 
from external defilements, and fire purges away the dross 
that is internally mixed with any metallic substance. Nothing 
can withstand the action of fire ; it dissolves the hardest metals, 
and consumes their dross ; thus the Spirit of God acts upon the 
hearts of men. Now the Jews were apt to found their hopes of 
mercy on their relation to Abraham. They had a strange con- 
ceit that no child of Abraham could perish ; but Johil combats 
their error, and, in so doing, shows us also that no external 
advantages, however great — not even being baptized in the 
name of Jesus, will profit, unless we have the inward baptism of 
the Holy Spirit. This alone can transform, and give you a good 
hope of being laid up in God's garner hereafter. It is not 
necessary to ask in your case, as John did in those days, " who 
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? " — for you 
are warned continually, even whilst reading t-his chapter. You 
have now had another message, — let conscience speak and you 
will not despise such solemn warnings. Consider the descrip- 
tion here given of the wrath of God ; it is, and ever will be, 
" wrath to come ; " yes, millions and millions of years hence, it 
will be no nearer its end, — it will still be " wrath to come ! " 
Why then loiter or delay in seeking the refuge which God has 
prepared in Jesus, to secure you from this wrath to come ? 

The chapter closes with an account of our Lord's baptism. 
He needed not baptism himself, for he had no sins to wash 

* Acts V. ni. 



14 S. MATTHEW. [chap. iv. 

away ; but we are told his object was " to fulfil all righteous- 
ness ; " to set us an example, and thus to put an honour upon 
the institution. 

On this occasion the three persons of the ever-blessed Trinity- 
were manifested ; — God the Father, by a voice from heaven, 
confirming the divine mission of God the Son ; and God the 
Holy Ghost descending upon him after the manner of a dove. 
This is the beloved of the Father, by whom his anger is turned 
away from us. He is the peace-maker, " the days-man," who 
can lay his hand upon us both ; there is no coming to God as a 
Father, but through Christ as a mediator. May we embrace 
his offered mercy, and call him our beloved Saviour in whom 
we are accepted by a reconciled Father. 

Note 1, v. 4. — There can be no doubt that aKpl^es means locusts, and not a 
kind of pulse, as some would have it. Some species of locusts were reckoned 
c?m?i by the law of Moses. Lev. xi. 22. And Lightfoot shews that the Rabbis 
hunted after them for food. See his Notes on Mark i. 6. 

Note 2, v. 12,—iTTiov rendered "fan" is rather a shovel, (pala) by which they 
threw the grain against the wand to winnow it — after it has been trodden by 
the cattle. Lightfoot cites the following from the Talmud. " Then comes the 
threshing — the straw they throw into the fire — the chaff into the wind — the 
wheat they keep on the floor. So the nations shall be burnt, but Israel pre- 
served." See his note on John iii. 17. 



CHAP. IV. 

Christ's fasting and temptation in the wilderness — begins to 
preach calls peter and andrew, james and john. 

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the 
de\il. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was after- 
wards an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou 
be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he 
answered and said. It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but 
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil 
taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the 
temple ; And saith unto him. If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself 
down : for it is written. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee : 
and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy 
foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him. It is written again. Thou shalt 
not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an 
exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, 
and the glory of them ; And saith unto him. All these things will I give 
thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him. 
Get thee hence, Satan : for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy 
God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, 
behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Now when Jesus had heard 
that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee ; And leaving 



CHAP. IV.] S. MATTHEW. 15 

Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, 
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthahm : That it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, 
and the land of Nephthahm, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, 
Galilee of the Gentiles ; The people which sat in darkness, saw great light : 
and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death hght is sprung 
up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say. Repent : for the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, "Walking by the sea of Gali- 
lee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting 
a net into the sea : for they were fishers. And he saith unto them. Follow 
me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their 
nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two 
brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with 
Zebedee their fiither, mending their nets ; and he called them. And they 
immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. And Jesus 
went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the 
gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner 
of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria : 
and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers 
diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, 
and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy : and he 
healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from 
Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and 
from beyond Jordan. 

John the Baptist had said of Christ, " He must increase, but 
I must decrease ; and so it proved. As the rising sun ad- 
vances, the morning star disappears ; for after John had bap- 
tized Christ and borne testimony to him, we hear little of his 
ministry ; Christ is now brought before us conspicuously, and 
we have in this chapter an account of his combat with the great 
enemy of our souls. He went forth as our champion, to meet 
the great Goliath, who so long defied the armies of the living 
God. You will observe that throughout the temptation, Satan's 
aim was to draw him from dependance on God. Christ having 
fasted forty days and forty nights, Satan first attacks him upon 
what he considered a weak point. He knew that he hungred 
greatly, and therefore he asks Christ to create a supply of bread. 
Here was the temptation, — his human wants craved a supply ; 
there was no sin in desiring bread, but it would have been sin- 
ful to have wished for it, when it was the Father's will that he 
should fast for our sakes ; * thus he was tempted, yet he never 
yielded to Satan's suggestion, to create bread contrary to the 
will of the Father. It would have implied a distrust of God, 
and therefore Christ refuses. Let us learn from this to wait 

* Sermons on our Lord's temptations ; and Appendix, by Dr. O'Brien, bishop 
of Ossory, and also by Dr. Manton— small volume, not included in his larger 
works. 



IG S. MATTHEW. [chap. iv. 

God's own time to deliver us out of difficulties, be they ever so 
great. It is better to live poorly upon the fruits of God's good- 
ness, than to live plentifully upon the produce of our own sin. 

Satan next tempts our Lord to presumption, by asking him to 
throw himself from a pinnacle of the temple, and thus to put 
God's promise to the test, where he had said that angels should 
have charge over him.* But our Saviour had no warrant from 
God for protection, if, instead of going down the stairs of the 
temple, he had thrown himself headlong from the building ; nor 
are we to expect God's special providence and protection in 
dangers into which we willingly and presumptuously run. If 
we go out of the path of duty, we forfeit the promise. Lastly, 
Satan makes a violent struggle, and tempts the Saviour to fall 
down and worship him, promising, as a reward, all the kingdoms 
of the world, which, it is supposed, by some optical illusion, he 
presented to his view : but Christ now calls him by his real 
name — " Satan," and drives him from him.f 

Observe here the weapon which Christ used in this combat : 
it was " the sword of the Spirit," which St. Paul tells us, is 
" the word of God." J Satan quoted Scripture, and perverted 
it to meet his purpose, but he could not answer it. Let us not 
suppose that we are uninterested in this combat. Christ sub- 
mitted to it, because he would humble himself in all things to be 
made like unto his brethren ; he was tempted that he might 
overcome the tempter. Though Satan be " a strong man 
armed," yet we now see that the Captain of our salvation is 
" stronger than he." What a comfort should it be when we 
have a sense of our own weakness, to feel at the same time that 
this Almighty strength may be ours if we ask it, and to feel 
that we have an High Priest who knows, by experience, what it 
is to be tempted, and who is therefore the more tenderly 
" touched with the feeling of our infirmities." § 

In the remainder of this chapter we read of Christ's preaching 
and miracles. Providence wisely ordered that John should be 
eclipsed, before Christ shone forth : otherwise the minds of the 
people would have been distracted between the Messiah and his 
forerunner : one would have said, " I am of John," and another, 
" I am of Jesus ; " so when John was cast into prison, Jesus 

* Psalm xci. 11. 

+ "Which serves for our consolation, to see that the Devil does not tempt the 

men of God, so long as he wills, but so long as Christ suffers ; and though he 

may suffer him to tempt for a season, in the end he drives him away because of 

the weakness of our nature. — Chnjaostom. {J, 

X Eph. vi. J7. ' § Ileb. iv. 15. 



CHAP. IT.] S. MATTHEW. 17 

went forth to preach, and in fulfilment of prophecy he went to 
the sea coasts of Galilee." * Observe what is said of these 
people before Christ came to them : they were not only " in 
darkness," but " in the region of the shadow of death," which 
implies great danger. This is the state of every soul upon 
which Christ has not shone by his Holy Spirit. It is said, too, 
that they " sat in darkness," which signifies a, contented posture; 
such a false contentment as belongs to every unconverted soul. 
AVill you be content to remain in this state, or will you pray 
that Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, may shine into your 
heart ? Christ now offers to give light to all who ask him ; 
but he will hereafter be like a flame to consume his adversaries. 

Observe the wonderful effect which the call of Christ had upon 
the disciples : they instantly " left all and followed him." Their 
conduct is recorded for your imitation. Eemember the fate of 
those who were invited to the marriage supper, and who wished 
to excuse themselves. The Lord of the feast resolved that " not 
one of them should ever taste of his supper." t God's Spirit 
will not always strive with man. It has been striving long with 
you ; God only knows how soon it may cease to strive, and give 
you up to the hardness of your heart, if you continue longer 
impenitent. 

The miracles of Christ will now come under our consideration 
daily, and let us here observe, once for all, that these records of 
Christ's having relieved bodily diseases, are intended to show us 
spiritual things, and to set before us the method of his dealing 
with souls, in their conversion and sanctification. In this sense 
may we apply them to ourselves, and seek relief from the great 
Physician, for the healing of our sin-sick souls ! 

Note. — It is evident that our Lord's fasting for forty days was miraculous, there- 
fore not to be literally imitated by us. — See Calvin's Commentary on this 
chapter. 



CHAP. y. 1—17. 



CHRIST BEGINNETH HIS SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain : and when he was 
set, his disciples came unto him : And he opened his mouth, and taught 
them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit : for their's is the kingdom of 
heaven. Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they 

* Isaiah ix. 1, 2. t Luke xiv. 24. 

VOL. I. C 



18 S. MATTHEW. [chap. v. 1—17. 

which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful ; for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the 
pure in heart : for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers : 
for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are 
persecuted for righteousness' sake ; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say 
all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be ex- 
ceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they 
the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth but 
if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted 1 it is thence- 
. forth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of 
men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot 
be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on 
a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify 
your Father which is in heaven. 

The last chapter concluded by telling us that a great multitude 
followed Christ, who, seeing their destitute condition and their 
manifold sorrows, was moved with compassion towards them, 
and healed their sick. We now find him occupied in healing 
the soul, by preaching the word of God on a mountain, from 
whence he delivered that sermon, which is called the Sermon on 
the Mount, — a part of which we have just read. He proposes 
blessedness as the object which all should have in view, and gives 
us the character of those who are subjects of this blessedness. 
Every man living is in search of happiness, and if we acknow- 
ledge Christ to be the Son of God, and therefore an infallible 
teacher, one would think that we should earnestly desire the 
blessedness he describes, and which he alone can give. The 
general opinion of the world, however, is, ' blessed and happy 
are the rich, the great, the honorable, — they that spend their 
days in mirth, and their years in pleasure.' But let us observe 
the character of those whom Christ pronounces to be blessed or 
happy ; they that are " poor in spirit," i. e. who are humbled for 
their sins, are lowly in their own eyes, and have a sense of their 
utter want and helplessness. They ' mourn ' on account of sin, 
and the misery to which sin exposes them. They are " meek," 
— they bear all things quietly and without murmuring, and 
though provoked to anger, yet restrain their wrath through the 
gospel principle of love. Such " shall inherit the earth," i. e. 
they shall yet reign with Christ upon the earth.* They 
"hunger and thirst after righteousness," — they hate sin, and 
earnestly long and desire to be made holy. They are ' merci- 

* Ps. xxxvii. 10, 11. Our Lord evidently cites from this psalm and thus 
makes his meaning definite, as above. 



CHAP. V. 1-17.] S. MATTHEW. 19 

ful,' — they feel for the wants and miseries of others, and, ac- 
cording to their abihty, reheve them, from love to God. They 
are "pure in heart," not only outwardly moral, but inwardly 
holy, and though not sinless, yet their earnest desire is to be 
like God, and to be truly devoted to him in heart and life. 
They are " peace-makers," of a peaceable disposition, and from 
love to God, study to make peace between others. They are 
" sufferers " for " Christ's sake," reviled and persecuted by an 
ungodly world ; yet under all this suffering, Christ calls upon 
them to "rejoice and to be exceeding glad," looking for a future 
inheritance. 

You have thus eight marks which belong to those who are 
traveUing the road to happiness ; remember they must not be 
separated ; they are all the fruits of one Spirit ; where one exists 
they will all exist, and in some degree they all appear in the life 
of every real Christian. Now come to the point, and ask your- 
selves, are these marks evident in you, or are you longing to 
enjoy them and praying to obtain them ? You are all in search 
of happiness, and you all, no doubt, hope to reach happiness ; 
but if you are pursuing a different road from what is here pointed 
out, and still hope to be happy in the end, is not this dealing 
with Christ as if he were a liar ? Are there two roads to glory ? 
If not, either you, or Christ, are mistaken. Judge this point 
for yourselves, and while we are considering this Sermon on the 
Mount, read over each verse of it daily in private, and if you 
see any difference between your opinion and Christ's on this 
subject, viz. who they are that are blessed, — pray that your 
opinion and your will may be altered to his ; and cost you what 
it may, intreat him to make you truly blessed, — blessed in his 
own way, and blessed in the end. 

Towards the close of these verses Christ addresses his disci- 
ples, and says, " ye are the salt of the earth," meaning thereby, 
that all who are his real disciples must and will be like " salt." 
It is the property of salt to keep from corrupting what it is ap- 
plied to ; and if we have this salt — that is, his doctrine, with the 
power of his Spirit — it will both keep us incorrupt, and be salt 
in our hands to season others withal.* He says also, " ye are 
the light of the world," meaning, that Christians must be so ; 
they must so live, that others may see the hohness of God 
shining forth in their walk and conversation, — their light will 
attract others to the service of their Father, and thus He will 

* CoL iv. 6. 
C 2 



20 S. MATTHEW. [chap. v. 17—82. 

be glorified by their decision ; they must keep their Hght always 
burning, and not be afraid to let it appear. What do you say 
to this in your hearts ? are you this " salt ? " are you this 
"light?" — -think and speak the truth; but remember that if 
you have not the light of Christ, you are in the darkness of an 
unconverted state : if you have not the salt of his grace, you 
are good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot. 



CHAP. V. 17—32. 



CHRIST EXPOUNDS THE LAW SIXTH AND SEVENTH COMMANDMENTS. 

Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come 
to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth 
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be 
fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least command- 
ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom 
of heaven, but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called 
great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you. That except your 
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye 
shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it 
was said by them of old time. Thou shalt not kill ; and whosoever shall kill 
shall be in danger of the judgment : But I say unto you. That whosoever 
is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judg- 
ment ; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of 
the council : but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell- 
fire. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest 
that thy brother hath aught against thee ; Leave there thy gift before the 
altar ; and go thy way ; first he reconciled to thy brother, and then come 
and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in 
the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, 
and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 
Verily I say unto thee. Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou 
hast paid the uttermost farthing. Ye have heard that it was said by them 
of old time. Thou shalt not commit adultery : But I say unto you, That 
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery 
with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye ofi'end thee, pluck it 
out, and cast it from thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy mem- 
bers should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee : for it 
is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that 
thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said. Whosoever shall 
put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement : But I say 
unto you. That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of 
fornication, causeth her to commit adultery : and whosoever shall marry her 
that is divorced, comniitteth adultery. 

The persons whom Christ here addressed, were such as looked 
to the Scriptures of the Old Testament as their rule, and therein 



CHAP. V. 17-32.] S. MATTHEW. 21 

Christ commended them ; but they depended also on the false 
comments of the Scribes and Pharisees, as their guide : and] in 
this he blamed them. With respect to the law, Christ came 
not to destroy, but to fulfil it. The Saviour of souls is the 
destroyer of nothing but the works of the devil.* He fulfilled 
the law, by shewing that he brought in no new and strange 
religion, but only gave a brighter view of those doctrines which 
they had been taught by Moses and the prophets. He also 
fulfilled it by obeying the commands of it, by making good the 
promises of it, and by answering to the types of it. He asserts 
the truth and perpetuity of the law, by telling us, that heaven 
and earth shall rather be wrapt in ruin and conftision, than one 
jot or tittle of God's word fall to the ground, or be uttered in 
vain. Think of this, ye careless ones, who daily read the 
threatenings of God against impenitent sinners ; read here your 
doom, if you continue to reject the Saviour. Our Lord next 
informs his hearers, that their righteousness must exceed that 
of the Scribes and Pharisees. Now these persons were looked 
upon as having arrived at the highest pitch of perfection ; they 
scrupulously observed the letter of the law ; but their error was, 
that they were proud of what they did, and trusted to it as their 
righteousness. After we have done all in our power, let us 
acknowledge ourselves to be "unprofitable servants;" and let us 
pray that we may have such a view of the strictness of the law, 
that we may cleave to the obedience of Christ alone as our title 
to glory, and enjoy that conformity to Christ's image, which 
makes us meet for the world of holiness ; thus shall our right- 
eousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees. 

Our Lord next notices a fatal error into which the Pharisees 
fell, and into which many amongst us fall— that of looking to 
the mere letter of the law, without considering its spirituality. 
For instance, if you were asked whether you ever broke the sixth 
commandment, you might assert — that you never committed 
murder. But our Lord here tells us, that malice, hatred, re- 
venge, and rash anger, are the seeds of murder, because if not 
checked, they would lead to the most violent action ; hence St. 
John tells us, " whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." 1[ 
Can you now plead innocence, when charged with the breach of 
this commandment ? Many too who think they have never 
broken the seventh commandment, must yet plead guilty, when 
they find that it not only forbids gross sin, but extends to every 

* 1 John iii. 8. t 1 John iii. 15. 



22 S. MATTHEW. [chap. v. 17—32. 

impure thought and unchaste look. By adverting to these two 
commandments, Christ would have you know what meaning he 
puts upon them all. It is to the heart that God looks ; he does 
not want to hear you speak, to know what you are ; judge your- 
self in like manner with respect to the other commandments ; 
look not merely to the letter of the law, nor consider yourself 
innocent because free from a gross violation of it, but remember 
that God looks to its spiritual meaning, which reaches to the 
thoughts and intents of the heart, and that, in his sight, a man 
is guilty who meditated an evil action, though he may never 
have put it into execution. 

Our Lord having thus explained the sixth commandment, 
inculcates the duty contained in it. We must not only abstain 
from anger or revenge, but we must indulge a spirit of love, so 
as to seek reconcihation with an offended brother. The advice 
which Christ gives on this occasion, aptly suits our case with 
respect to God. We have all offended him times without num- 
ber, yet he has sent his only-begotten Son to make an atone- 
ment for our sin, and to bring us into a state of reconcihation : 
our duty is to embrace the offer without delay : " We are yet 
in the way with him." Though we are hastening every moment 
to the judgment-seat of Christ, we have not yet arrived there, 
and there is yet time for acceptance : God is our adversary on 
account of our sins, and now, while we are on the way to judg- 
ment, he offers pardon through Jesus ; but if once the matter 
is brought before the judge, all hope of mercy and pardon will 
be past. Consider the solemnity with which our Lord warns us 
against delay, and lose not another moment in securing the 
intercession of Jesus. 

Many of these precepts are so strict, that you may be incKned 
to say, " It is a hard saying — who can hear it." The mortifica- 
tion of sin is allowed to be hard, like the puUing out an eye, or 
the cutting off a hand ; but still it must be done. We are sur- 
rounded with objects which are incitements to sin. Beauty has 
a tendency to create unhallowed desire ; splendor, to call forth 
envy and ambition ; and plenty, to lead to intemperance ; but 
our Lord sets before us an alternative ; either to turn away from 
all occasion of sin, or to suffer the displeasure of an angry God 
in hell. The pleasure of sin will surely be too dearly purchased 
at such a price as this, and the pain of mortifying sin can never 
be compared with that which will follow from the indulgence of 
it. If a diseased limb threatened your life, you would not only 
suffer the pain of having it cut off, but pay a person for the 



CHAP. V. 33-48.] S. MATTHEW. 23 

operation. Be equally wise in respect to your souls ; doubt 
your own strength as much as you please, and the more you do 
so, the better ; but never give up the task till you have made a 
trial of Christ's strength, which he has promised to make perfect 
in your weakness. 

Note. — Raxa, in verse 22, means vain fellov), a word of contempt. Fool, means 
wretch, or miscreant ; a term of the greatest abhorrence. These imply greater 
anger than the first expression, — " without a cause," or rashly. Hence three 
degrees of punishment are set forth b}^ the three modes of Jewish punishment, 
viz., i\\e judgment, the lowest court, — the council or sanhedrin, who punished 
more severely, — and the Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom, where children were 
sacrificed to Moloch, and people were tortured ; an emblem of hell-fire. The 
idea is, that aggravated sin deserves increased punishment. 



CHAP. V. 33—48. 

SERMON CONTINUED ON SWEARING IN ORDINARY AFFAIRS ON REVENGE 

ON THE LOVE OF OUR ENEMIES. 

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt 
not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths : But I 
say unto you. Swear not at all ; neither by heaven ; for it is God's throne : 
Nor by the earth ; for it is his footstool : neither by Jerusalem ; for it is the 
city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because 
thou canst not make one hair white or black : But let your communication 
be. Yea, yea ; Nay, nay ; for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of enl. 
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a 
tooth : But I say unto you. That ye resist not evil : but whosoever shall 
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any 
man shall sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy 
cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him 
twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of 
thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy : But I say unto you. Love 
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, 
and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you ; That ye 
may be the children of your Father which is in heaven : for he maketh his 
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on 
the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye ? do 
not even the publicans the same 1 And if ye salute your brethren only, 
what do ye more than others ? do not even the publicans so ? Be ye there- 
fore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

In continuing our meditation on our Lord's sermon on the 
Mount, we now find him combating the false opinions of the 
Jews on the subject of swearing. They thought that if a per- 
son kept his oath, his swearing in ordinary affairs was of no con- 
sequence ; but our Lord says " Swear not at all." The Jews, 



24 S. MATTHEW. [chap. v. 33—48. 

having a reverence for the name of Jehovah, invented what they 
considered an inferior kind of oath, and swore " by heaven, or by 
the earth, or by Jerusalem, or by their own heads." In the same 
way we hear many swear, by their hfe, their faith, their soul ; but 
our Lord shows that to swear by the creature, is in fact to swear 
by the Creator himself, since every creature is his, and subsists by 
his providence — hence every kind of oath in our intercourse with 
men is unlawful, except in the solemn administration of justice 
between man and man. Our Lord's words are indeed so em- 
phatic that many have thought that even an oath in a court of 
justice is contrary to these precepts ; but this is a mistake — for 
the prohibition plainly applies to our " communications " one 
with another — our " conversation " with men in the usual affairs 
of life. God himself is said to give us not only his promise, but 
his oath, in imitation of man's transactions in law.* And the 
angel is said to have sworn by him that liveth for ever and 
ever ; t — examples which clearly prove that our Lord's words are 
directed against profane and causeless swearing. What a miserable 
habit is this — how offensive to God, and how useless in begetting 
confidence ! If our character for truth does not gain credit for 
our word, men will be slow to take our oath. 

When people are reproved for swearing, they often urge 
passion as an excuse ; but this is to offer one sin as an excuse for 
another : or they will account it a sufficient excuse to say, ' I 
did not think of it ; ' but what excuse is that ? it says, in fact — 
' I have no reverence for God.' Well would it be if they who 
curse and swear, and they also who occasionally use the words 
' God bless me,' ' Lord have mercy,' and ' God knows,' &c. 
were sensible of the guilt which they contract. 

The next error which our Lord considered was that of re- 
venge. 'Tis true the law allowed magistrates to inflict punish- 
ment upon offenders, and even expressed the words, " an eye 
for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," — meaning thereby that 
wherein any had offended, they should make restitution to the 
extent of the injury done ; but the Pharisees gave this power 
into the hands of individuals, to avenge their own private 
wrongs, which the Lord never intended should be done ; on the 
contrary, we find here a lesson of forbearance and forgiveness 
inculcated. We are not to take Christ's expressions in their 
literal sense, when he desires us to part with a second garment, 
or to offer our cheek to those who smite '^:i,s ; but the general 

* Ilcb. vi. IG, 17. t Rev. x. 6. 



CHAP. VI. 1—18.] S. MATTHEW. 25 

meaning is, that we should rather be indined to suffer a greater 
loss, and submit to bear it, for peace' sake, than to stand upon 
the rigour of justice. Thus shall we overcome evil with good. 
Connected with this spirit of forgiveness is that universal love 
spoken of in the last verses of this chapter. Even wicked per- 
sons generally love their friends — nature inclines them to it, and 
self-interest directs it ; but if this be your rule, in what respect 
are you better than the publicans and sinners ? and if you are no 
better than they, in your disposition and conduct, how can you 
hope for a better destiny than theirs ? Think of the golden pre- 
cept inculcated by our blessed Lord, " Love your enemies ; " 
and think, at the same time, how far removed from this rule, are 
all those quarrellings and jealousies, that passion and resentment, 
that anger and tale-bearing, which are so frequent among us. 
If we feel that the precept " love your enemies," is difficult to 
perform at all times — especially when greatly provoked by un- 
just dealings or ungrateful returns of evil for good, let us fix our 
eye on the lovely example of Jesus, who loved his enemies — 
prayed for them, and even died for them, and let us pray for 
grace to follow his meekness and forbearance — so shall we prove 
ourselves to be his true and faithful disciples. 

Note on v. 41.— o77opet56ii', to send off an ayyapos a public courier. This word is 
of Persian origin, and was afterwards received into the Greek. The ayydpoi, or 
couriers had the power of comjiellinq any one to lend their horse in the liing's 
service.— See Robinson's Lexicon. 



CHAP. VL 1.— 11 



SERMON CONTINUED ALMSGIVING PRAYER THE LORD S PRAYER. 

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them : other- 
wise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore, 
when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the 
hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have 
glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when 
thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth : 
That thine alms may be in secret : and thy Father which seeth in secret 
himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not 
be as the hypocrites are : for they love to pray standing in the synagogues 
and in the comers of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I 
say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter 
into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which 
is in secret ; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do : for they 
think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye there- 



26t S. MATTHEW. [chap. vi. 1—18. 

fore like unto them : for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, 
before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye : Our Father, 
which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name : Thy kingdom come : thy will 
be done in earth, as it is in heaven : Give us this day our daily bread : And 
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors : And lead us not into temp- 
tation, but deliver us from evil : for thine is the kingdom, and the power, 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, 
your heavenly Father will also forgive you : But if ye forgive not men their 
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Moreover, 
when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance : for they 
disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say 
unto you. They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint 
thine head, and wash thy face ; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but 
unto thy Father which is in secret : and thy Father, which seeth in secret 
shall reward thee openly. 

In this portion of our Lord's sermon, he sets himself to cor- 
rect one evil very prevalent among the Pharisees, viz. hypocrisy, 
and he notices three ways in which it appeared ; in alms-giving 
— in prayer— and in fasting. We are called to serve God with 
our souls, our bodies, and our property ■ the first must be done 
by prayer, the second by fasting, and the third by alms ; but 
in each of these points the Pharisees acted under the influence 
of pride and hypocrisy. The principal feature in their character 
was ostentation, " they did all their works to be seen of men." 
In distributing alms they sought to draw the attention and ad- 
miration of the public ; but against such conduct our Lord 
warns both them and us. The giving of alms, like every thing 
else, must be judged of by the motive from whence it springs, 
and it is then only to be deemed piety and charity, when it 
springs from love to God, and not from a desire of man's praise.* 
On the subject of prayer, likewise, the Pharisees pretended to 
have so much reverence for God, that they would not defer their 
accustomed acts of devotion, even for a few minutes : but, if the 
usual hour arrived, would perform them in the corner of a 
street, or in any other place, however conspicuous ; whilst, in 
reality, the whole was a contrivance to attract notice, and obtain 
a high reputation for sanctity : such must not be the conduct of 
the Christian. He will, no doubt, join both in social and public 
worship ; but when he seeks God for his own soul's good, he de- 
sires to be alone with God, and thus to enjoy secret fellowship 
with him, whose ears are always open to our petitions. Oh ! 

* " How jTi-eat strength the love of human approbation has, none feels, but he 
who has proclaimed war against it. For though it be easy for any not to 
wish for praise when it is deiiied him, it is difficult not to be pleased with it when 
it is offered."— Augttstine. 



CHAP. VI. 1-18.] S. MATTHEW. 27 

that we knew more of this blessed privilege— we should then 
feel the efficacy of earnest, faithful pleading in our whole state of 
mind and character. Prayer is the very breath of a regenerate 
soul ; it is the service of the heart, and not merely of the lip and 
knee. The true point to be ascertained is, do the feeHngs and 
desires of your soul correspond with the expressions of your lips? 
If they do', and if they are offered through Jesus, they will con- 
stitute acceptable prayer ; — if not, they are altogether worthless 
in the sight of God. 

The duty of fasting was also perverted by the Pharisees, to 
feed their pride. In order to appear outwardly penitent, they dis- 
figured their faces, omitted to cleanse themselves, and put on 
melancholy dejected looks. Our Lord does not here condemn 
fasting, but censures those who make an exhibition of it. Fast- 
ing evidently means abstinence from food, — it has been observed 
by the most devoted servants of God in all ages of the Church, 
as a help to devotion and a means of mortifying the flesh. We 
have here three points for self-examination. Let us " beware 
of the leaven of the Pharisees." The stones over which they 
stumbled, are set up as way-marks to guide us : let us pray for 
such a disposition of mind, that God's glory may be the main- 
spring of all our actions. 

In the latter verses just read, we have that form of prayer 
which our Lord gave for the use of his followers ; it is also meant 
as a pattern of what our prayers should be, as we may gather 
from the mode in which our Lord here introduces it — " After 
this manner therefore pray ye ;" whereas in St. Luke he enjoins 
it as a positive /o?'m — " when ye pray say — Our Father which 
art in Heaven," &c.* It contains several distinct petitions ; — 
some for the advancement of God's honour, and some for the 
promotion of our happiness. First, we pray that the name of 
God may be hallowed, or adored ; secondly, that his kingdom 
of glory may come, when his will shall be done by men on earth, 
as by angels in heaven. For ourselves, we pray first — for daily 
bread — which God has promised to supply us with, both for 
soul and body. Secondly, we ask for the pardon of our sins, 
as God has taught us to forgive our brethren their trespasses ; 
and, thirdly, we pray for deliverance from temptation. Every- 
thing around is employed by Satan to tempt us ; and is it not 
mocking God, if we use this petition, and then wilfully and 
knowingly rush into scenes of temptation, which we know must 

* Luke xi. 2. 



28 S. MATTHEW. [chap. vr. 19—34. 

endanger our souls ? This prayer ends with ascribing glory to 
God, and pleading his power to enforce our petitions. We all 
daily use this prayer ; but, alas ! how frequently does it dwindle 
into a mere form. Study and examine each portion of it, and 
try, for the future, that your heart may go along with the ex- 
pressions of your lips, when you use it. After concluding this 
prayer, our Lord further notices one part of it, — that of forgive- 
ness of injuries. In vain do we use the words " forgive us our 
trespasses," if we harbour any revenge against an offending 
brother : such a spirit would doubtless prove that we were igno- 
rant of our sins against God ; for how could we take vengeance 
on an offending brother for a trifling fault, if we were sensible 
what a large debt we ourselves owe to God ? Let us lay these 
things to heart, and as we hope to be forgiven, let us pray for 
that spirit of Christian forbearance, which will enable us to 
overlook the faults, and pardon the offences, of all who may 
injure us. 

Note. — It has been much disputed whether the Doxology with which the Lord's 
prayer closes is genuine, but Whitby has satisfactorily shewn that although 
omitted in the Vulgate and some of the Latin Fathers, it is to be received as 
part of the sacred text. 



CHAP. VI. 19—34. 

WHERE OUR TREASURE IS TO BE LAID UP WE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND 

MAMMON NOT TO BE ANXIOUS ABOUT WORLDLY THINGS. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth 
corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal : But lay up for your- 
selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and 
where thieves do not break through nor steal : For where your treasure is, 
there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye : If there- 
fore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of hght : But if thine 
eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the 
light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness ! No man can 
serve two masters : for either he will hate the one and love the other ; or 
else he ^^^ll hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God 
and Mammon. Therefore I say unto you. Take no thought for your life, 
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what ye 
shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment ? 
Behold the fowls of the air : for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor 
gather into bams ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not 
much better than they ? Which of you by taking thought can add one 
cubit unto his stature ? And why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider 
the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : 
And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed 
like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field. 



CHAP. VI. 19—34.] S. MATTHEW. 29 

which to-day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much 
more clothe you, O ye of httle faith 1 Therefore take no thought, saying. 
What shall we eat ? or. What shall we drink ? or, "^Tierewithal shall we 
he clothed ? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your 
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek 
ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness ; and all these things 
"shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow : for 
the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufiicient unto the 
day is the evil thereof. 

The Lord, who knows the heart of man, directed his exhorta- 
tion to the very points, where we are most Hkely to be tempted 
and overcome. The tendency of our fallen nature is to make 
this world our rest, and to regard our possessions in it, be they 
more or less, as our treasure ; — hence Christ warns us against 
having our treasure upon earth. He does not forbid diligence 
in needful business, for honest industry is recommended by God 
himself ; but he forbids us to regard earthly things as the source 
of our happiness, and recommends us to be diligent in storing up 
treasure in heaven ; in doing so, we may learn a lesson from 
those persons who go to a foreign country for the purpose of 
acquiring wealth ; they go thither for one fixed purpose, which 
they follow, uniformly, during their continuance there ; they 
never for a moment forget that they are labouring with a view 
to their future ease and comfort, when they return home. We 
should copy their diligence, and we should pass through this 
life with a view to a future state, remembering that there is a 
place of glory to gain, and a Hell to avoid, and we should ac- 
count every day lost, which does not impress on us the empti- 
ness of earthly things, and the glory — the real glory of the king- 
dom to come. Alas! that we should fix our affections on things 
which the moth may consume, or the hand of the thief plunder 
— a poor inheritance this for an immortal soul — whereas, when 
we look at the property which our heavenly Father provides for 
us, we find it to be " an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, 
and which fadeth not away ; " and it is only the corrupt state of 
our hearts which prevents our asking and obtaining it. This 
truth our Lord thus explains. If the bodily eye be clear and 
perfect, we perceive objects as they are, and walk on steadily ; 
but if our eye be defective or diseased, we can neither see, nor 
walk, aright. In like manner, if our hearts remain in their na- 
turally diseased state, we shall lose our way ; but if they be re- 
newed by divine grace, we shall have, what in Scripture is 
called, the " single eye," i. e. our spiritual sense and judgment 
will be good ; our understanding will be enlightened by the 



30 S. MATTHEW. [chap. vi. 19—34. 

Holy Spirit to discern spiritual things, and to follow after righ- 
teousness. 

Our Lord next shows us the impossibihty of uniting the ser- 
vice of the world with that of God. A man may do some ser- 
vice for two masters, but he cannot devote himself to the service 
of more than one ; " Ye cannot serve God and mammon."* God 
requires the whole man, and will not share the heart with the 
world : he is " a jealous God, and will not give his glory to 
another," and he requires his people to worship him with all 
their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul, and with all 
their strength. Keep in view, that whatever has your heart, is 
your God, and if you will consider this, you will find that (God 
not being uppermost in your heart) you are guilty of idolatry 
much oftener than you imagine. 

Observe what multiplied arguments our Lord uses to free us 
from anxious carefulness. A thoughtfulness about the future is 
by no means improper ; there is a care and foresight which 
Christian prudence requires. This much is lawful ; but what can 
we obtain by anxious cares ? We cannot add one inch to our 
height, or a moment to our age. Let us only look around us, 
and see what God is doing in the animal and vegetable world ; 
how he feeds the birds of the air, which make no provision for 
themselves, and clothes with unrivalled beauty the flowers of the 
field, which have so short a continuance, " Solomon in all his 
glory was not arrayed like one of these lihes " — they far exceed 
in beauty all the fine purple and gay clothing in the world — they 
seem to join the fowls of the air in rebuking our anxiety about 
the poor body. Why should its feeding and clothing occupy 
men's thoughts as they do, whilst God is clothing the fields with 
verdure, and filling all things with plenteousness ? Can we con- 
ceive that God will take less care of us, who are so much higher 
in the scale of being ? Let us then " seek first the kingdom of 
God : " let the first of our talents, and the first of every thing we 
have, be devoted to his service ; let the first desire of our souls 
be, to have his kingdom of grace set up in our hearts, and, if this 
be effected, we need not fear for the future — all other things 
shall be added unto us. 

* Mammon is a Syriac word, signifying riches — it may be taken for all earthly 
possessions. Our Lord personifies it, and sets it forth as a master who rivals the 
true God in men's hearts. 



I 



CHAP. VII. 1-14.] S. MATTHEW. 31 



CHAP. VII. 1—14. 

CHRIST REPROVES RASH JUDGMENT EXHORTS TO PRAYER THE BROAD AND 

NARROW WAY. 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall 
be judged : and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you 
ao-ain. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but 
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye ? Or how wilt thou say 
to thy brother. Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye : and, behold, a 
beam is in thine own eye ? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of 
thine own eye ; and then slialt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of 
thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast 
ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and 
turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye 
shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you : For every one that 
asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh 
it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask 
bread, will he give him a stone ? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a 
serpent ? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your 
children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good 
things to them that ask him ? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would 
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them : for this is the law and 
the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate : for wide is the gate, and broad 
is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in 
thereat : Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth 
unto life, and few there be that find it. 

In the first verses of this chapter our Lord directs us how to con- 
duct ourselves, in reference to the faults of others, and his ex- 
pressions are intended as a reproof to those who are rigid and 
severe in condemning all about them, while their own conduct 
stands in need of reformation. Christ's words do not forbid the 
exercise of magisterial judgment, for magistracy is of God's ap- 
pointment ; nor do they forbid our forming a discreet judgment, 
whether of things, or persons, for the regulation of our own con- 
duct ; for in this very chapter, he desires us to judge men " by 
their fruits ; "* but his words forbid a needless, unfounded, hasty, 
or severe judgment, and thereby he instructs us that we should 
judge of every person as favourably as we can, and not put a bad 
construction on doubtful actions ; that we should, as far as pos- 
sible, lean to the charitable side, and even where necessity com- 
pels us to condemn the conduct of any person, we should still 
cast a veil of love over his transgressions, and hide them as far 
as justice will allow. 

* Verse 20. 



32 S. MATTHEW. [chap. vii. 1—14. 

Our Lord refers to two kinds of enemies to the gospel under 
the names of dogs and swine : to them we are not to cast the 
pearls of the gospel, lest they despise it and turn to rend us. 
The gospel is indeed to be preached to every creature — to open 
sinners, as well as to moral men, but these terms do not refer to 
men in their fallen state only, but to such as by sure tokens, do 
declare their obstinate contempt of God, whereby the disease 
may appear incurable.* There is a time for all things : there is 
a time to speak, and a time to be silent ; let us pray for wisdom 
in speaking on the solemn subject of religion. 

In the former chapter our Lord had spoken of prayer as a 
commanded duty — here he speaks of it as the appointed means 
of obtaining what we need. The v/ords "ask," " seek," "knock," 
certainly imply a so/z'a'^wcZe about some object. "Ask" — as a 
beggar asks alms ; " Seek " — as for a thing of value that you 
have lost ; " Knock " — as he that desires to enter the house, 
knocks at the door. 

" Asking " only, is not prayer, unless you " seek " for the 
things in God's appointed way ; nor is seeking sufficient, if you 
do not, like persons anxious to obtain an answer, continue 
" knocking " at the door of mercy. Now consider the promises 
which are annexed to these commands — " Ask and it shall be 
be given you," not lent, nor sold to you, but "given you :" "Seek, 
and ye shall find." God is found of those that seek him : 
" Knock and it shall be opened to you," the door of mercy and 
grace shall no longer be shut against you as enemies, but open 
to you as friends and children : and, lest you might still be dis- 
couraged, our Lord makes an appeal to your feelings : " What 
man is there of you," " whom, if his son ask bread, will he 
give him a stone ? " whence he infers. If ye then, being evil, 
grant your children's request, much more will your heavenly 
Father give you the good things you ask. Here then is en- 
couragement for you. God may not immediately answer you ; 
and it may be, that he will not grant the precise thing which 
you pray for ; but if the salvation of your soul be the subject 
of your prayer, he will answer in the best time, and in the best 
manne)\ granting that which eventually will be most conducive 
to his own glory and your good. 

The two last verses which were read, deserve serious atten- 
tion ; they state the important truth, that there are but two 
roads set before us, the road to glory, and the road to endless 

* Maiiorate on St. Matthew, p. 188. 



CHAP. VII. 1.5—29.] S. MATTHEW. 33 

woe. Let us consider what is said of the broad road — " the 
gate is wide : " you may go in with all your lusts — you will 
have abundance of company in that way — it is the way of 
worldly pleasure, and every one will tell you to eat, drink, and 
be merry ; but consider " it leads to destruction / " It is 
natural for us to go down the stream, and to do as others do ; 
but if we follow the crowd, it must be to do evil, for mani/ travel 
in this broad road ; but it is too great a comphment to be willing 
to be lost for company's sake, and to go to misery with them, 
because they will not go to glory with us. Now, consider the 
narrow way : it is diflScult, no doubt ; the gate is small, the 
path is thorny, and there are few travellers ; but, notwithstand- 
ing all this, there are joys in it which none but those who have 
travelled it, can know ; and, oh ! consider the end of it — " it 
leads to life " — life eternal. Deliberate no longer ; " enter in 
at the strait gate," knock at it by sincere prayer, and it shall be 
opened, and you will soon find that, though rough and thorny, 
it has its pleasures too, and that the end of it is peace. 



CHAP. VII. 15—29. 

TO BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS NOT TO BE HEARERS ONLY, BUT DOERS OF 

THE WORD LIKE HOUSES BUILDED ON A ROCK, NOT ON THE SAND. 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly 
they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men 
gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? Even so every good tree bring- 
eth forth good fruit : but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good 
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good 
fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast 
into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every 
one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; 
but he that doeth the will of ray Father which is in heaven. Many will say 
to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and 
in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful 
works ? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart 
from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these say- 
ings of mine, and doeth them, 1 will liken him unto a wise man, which built 
his house upon a rock : And the rain descended, and the floods came, and 
the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; and it fell not ; for it was 
founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, 
and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his 
house upon the sand : And the rains descended, and the floods came, and 
the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; and it fell : and great was the 
fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the 
people were astonished at his doctrine : For he taught them as one having 
authority, and not as the scribes. 
VOL. I. D 



34 S. MATTHEW. [chap. vii. 15—29. 

It is evident that Christ intended to counteract the influence 
of the Pharisees. Though they were in high repute for sanc- 
tity, and though they pretended to have a high regard for reh- 
gion, yet they were in fact the bitterest enemies of all vital 
godliness. Our Lord therefore gave his followers a rule whereby 
to judge of true and false teachers. " By their fruits ye shall 
know them." Error and sin go hand in hand, so likewise truth 
and holiness. We need not be surprised at false teachers arising 
in every age of the Church. Christ has warned us of the wiles 
of Satan, who often comes as an angel of light, but we must 
bring all teachers to the test here given. What fruit follows from 
their teaching ? Do they practise in their lives, those things 
which they preach ? 

This rule is also apphcable to us all, and will serve as our 
guide, in discovering who are, and who are not, the true people 
of God. We are to judge of men by their works, as a tree is 
known by its fruit. No care or culture can make a tree pro- 
duce any other fruit than that of its own kind. We are to be 
judged, not by particular acts, but by the whole course and tenor 
of our conversation. Now Christ has shown us that by nature 
we are evil, and consequently must bring forth bad fruit. How 
then must we obtain a change of nature, so as to bring forth 
good fruit ? Your heart, in a natural state, is like a barren tree, 
and in order to bring forth good fruit, acceptable to God, the 
old propensities must be subdued, and you must have the divine 
nature grafted upon your heart : this must be effected by the 
operation of the Spirit of God, and your fruit will then be good. 
This is what is meant when the Scripture speaks of your being 
" born again," of your being made " new creatures," &c. and 
lest you should be deceived upon this point, God has given you 
(in the 5th chap, to the Galatians) a description of the fruit 
which grows upon the old, unconverted heart,* and adds, that 
" they who do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God," or in other words, they shall be cut down and burned ; 
and in the same chapter, God shows you what is the fruit of 
the divine nature ingrafted upon the heart by his Spirit.f Read 
these verses, and examine yourselves by them, and bear in mind, 
that until your hearts are changed, you cannot enter into his 
joyful presence. 

Christ next shows that an outward profession of rehgion, 
however remarkable, will not avail, without a corresponding 

* Gal. V. 19—21. t Ibid. 22, 23. 



CHAP. VII. 1.5—29.] S. MATTHEW. 3.5 

conduct. It is not enough to call him " Lord, Lord," if we do 
not his will, and this is the will of God, even our sanctification. 
It is possible for you even to prophesy, and still not belong 
to Christ : for Balaam and Caiaphas uttered prophecies, yet 
that did not save them : you might even cast out devils, as 
Judas did, and after all, no more be saved than he was. Nothing 
then will avail but having Christ's spirit ingrafted upon your 
hearts, which will make you bring forth fruit to the glory of 
his name. How terrible the doom of the false professor, when 
Christ shall disown him in the day of judgment. " I never 
knew you (or approved of you), depart from me, ye that work 
iniquity ; " how much will the pleasures of sin, of worldly 
splendour, of a transient reputation, cost those who forget 
God ! What can the whole world avail us, if we are finally 
driven away from the joyful presence of Christ ! 

In concluding this long and instructive sermon, our Lord 
divided his hearers into two classes : those who heard his say- 
ings, and did them — and those who heard, and did them not. 
The state of their respective cases is represented under the 
comparison of two builders ; one was *' wise and built on a 
rock," and his building stood in a storm ; the other was " foolish, 
and built upon the sand," and his building fell. Remember 
that there is a rock provided for you to build upon, " and that 
ROCK IS Christ ; " He is offered as a foundation, and " other 
foundation can no man lay." Build upon that rock alone, and 
your house shall stand, though storm and tempest beat upon it. 
But alas ! many profess that they hope to be saved, yet despise 
this rock, and build their house upon " the sand ; " they build 
upon an external profession of religion ; they repeat their prayers, 
are harmless to their neighbours, and hope that God is merciful : 
such is the foundation of their house , but it is all sand. There 
is a storm coming that will try what your hopes are built on — 
and if they are built upon a sandy foundation, your house will 
fall, and that, when you have no time to build another ; now, when 
you have time to build, look out for a good foundation stone ; 
remember that all but Christ, is sand : build your hopes 
on him alone ; then shall your building prosper, and at last the 
top-stone shall be laid with joy unspeakable. 

Note. — Trapp in his Commentary on verses 24 and 25, has some excellent and 
terse remarks on the vanity and danger of insincere profession of Christ's name. 



D 2 



S. MATTHEW. [chap. viii. 1—22. 



CHAP. VIII. 1-22. 



CHRIST CLEANSETH A LEPER HEALETH THE CENTURION 9 SERVANT AND 

OTHERS. 

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou 
wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and 
touched him, saying, I will ; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy 
was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him. See thou tell no man ; but go 
thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses com- 
manded, for a testimony unto them. And when Jesus was entered into 
Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, 
Lord, my servant lietli at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion 
answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under 
my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For 
I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me : and I say to this 
man, Go, and he goeth ; and to another. Come, and he cometh ; and to 
my servant. Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, 
and said to them that followed. Verily I say unto you, I have not foiind so 
great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you. That many shall come- 
from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall 
be cast out into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way ; and as thou hast 
believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self- 
same hour. And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his 
wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and 
the fever left her : and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the 
even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with 
devils : and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were 
sick : That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, 
saying. Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Now when 
Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart 
unto the other side. And a cer4;ain scribe came, and said unto him. Master, 
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him. 
The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of 
man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said 
unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said 
unto him, Follow me ; and let the dead bury their dead. 

St. Matthew having, in the foregoing chapters, given us a 
specimen of our Lord's preaching, proceeds now to give some 
instances of the miracles he wrought, which proved him to be a 
teacher sent from God, and the great healer of this diseased 
world. The first miracle recorded by this evangelist, was his 
curing a leper. We read much of the plague of leprosy in the 



CHAP. VIII. 1-22.] S. MATTHEW. f^r 

books of Moses. It was a loathsome disorder which covered 
the body with white festered spots, and by degrees eat away 
the flesh ; it was generally inflicted by the immediate hand of 
God ; it excluded the person who was afflicted with it from 
pubhc ordinances,* and from most of the employments and 
comforts of society ; and, what was worse than all, it could not 
be cured by human means. But Jesus was more than man. 
The poor leper came to him with humble faith, hoping for a 
cure, and his expectations were answered. The touch of a 
leprous person would have made any one else unclean, but 
Jesus could not contract defilement : he therefore, touched 
him, and an immediate cure was effected. f 

Next comes a centurion, a Roman officer, to plead in behalf 
of his servant, who was afflicted with the palsy. This was a 
disease in which the physician's skill usually failed ; but the cen- 
turion's faith was strong, for upon Christ's offering to go to his 
house, he not only expressed his unworthiness of such an honour, 
but declared his belief, that if Christ only spoke the word where 
he was, his servant would be healed. He then illustrated the 
power of Christ's word, by a reference to his own position : as a 
centurion, he had authority over his soldiers. They were all at 
his command ; so that he could, by them, execute his pleasure 
at a distance. Thus, he imphed, Christ could speak, and it 
would be done. The centurion had this command over his sol- 
diers, though he was himself " a man under authority " — not a 
commander-in-chief, but an inferior officer : much more then had 
Christ this power, who was the supreme Lord of all. This ex- 
pression of a strong faith, drew forth the Saviour's commenda- 
tion, and the centurion was comforted with this reply, " as thou 
hast beUeved, so be it done unto thee." He did beheve, and, 
therefore his servant was healed. 

Another effect of our Saviour's miraculous power is here re- 
corded, viz. his curing Peter's wife's mother of a fever. He 
spoke the word, and the fever left her. They that recover from 
fevers by natural means, are generally weak, and feeble, for a 
long time after ; but Christ cured by a power beyond that of 
nature, and we find that the woman was immediately able to 
follow her usual occupations. 

But for what purpose are these miracles recorded ? Were they 

* See Lev. xiii. 44, 46. 
t '' For a testimony unto them" (v. 4.) (is /xapTvpiov airols. Trench shews 
that this ought to be rendered " for a testimony against them, i. e. against their 
unbelief." — See his notes on the Miracles, p. 220. 



38 S. MATTHEW. [chap. viii. 1—22. 

only intended to amuse us as stories ? No, they have a higher 
object in view. The Saviour's great aim in all his miracles, was 
to turn our eyes to him as the physician of the soul ; to convince 
us of our need of healing, and of his power and willingness to 
help us to the uttermost.* In proportion to the feeling you 
have of your own plague, will you turn to him in faith. If you 
feel your burden, y(Tu will long to be eased of it. If you know 
your own sore, you can lay your hand upon it, and tell him of 
it, and upon the warrant of every miracle you read of, you may 
call upon him for relief. But if you will not acknowledge your 
sin— if you make light of it, or think all is well with you, be- 
cause, perhaps, you are not a gross offender, how can you come 
to him for healing ? what can you say to him — what have you 
to do with him ? Search and examine yourself; go to the great 
physician of souls in faith — consult him frequently — apply to 
him in earnest prayer ; let your first petition be, ' Lord, shew me 
the real state of my heart,' and then offer up another — ' give me 
saving faith in thine atonement.' 

It frequently happens that circumstances are related in Scrip- 
ture, which, at first sight, appear of no importance, but which, 
upon closer inspection, are found to contain important instruc- 
tion. Of this nature are the two conversations recorded in this 
portion of Scripture ; they serve to put us on our guard against 
two destructive errors, viz. : — hastiness in promising, and slow- 
ness in performing. One of the two persons who came to con- 
verse with our Lord, was a Scribe, or teacher of the law ; he 
professed a great regard for Christ, and a readiness to follow him; 
but our Lord's answer shows that his intentions were not good, 
— that he probably expected worldly advantage by following 
him, and this he was not likely to get. His followers could not 
expect to fare better than their master; and even Christ, though 
Lord of all, had not so sure a covering as the beasts of the field, 
or the birds of the air. Let us learn from this that a mere ex- 
ternal profession of waiting upon Christ will profit us nothing. 

The other character who conversed with our Lord, was 
already a disciple ; but our Lord wished him to be in closer 
attendance upon him ; to this he objected, and asked leave first 
to go and bury his father. Our Lord replied, that the oflfice 
which he pleaded as an excuse, might as well be performed by 
others, who, being destitute of spiritual hfe, were unfit for the high 
duty he was called to ; " Let the dead bury their dead, but go 

* Sec John ix. 4, 5. 



cuAP. VIII. 23—34.] S. MATTHEW. 89 

thou, and preach the kingdom of God." How many resemble 
this man ! Each one imagines he has some present engagement 
of great importance, and when called to follow Christ, says, 
' Let me first go, and finish this or that business — let me first get 
out of my present situation, and then I will become religious.' 
He promises himself a more convenient season ; but, alas ! he 
delays till death cuts short his purposes, and puts an end to his 
existence. But where shall the soul be found ? Take heed 
then of all such delays. Give Christ your first and best atten- 
tion — follow the Lord fully, and you will then be able to give all 
things their proper place. 

Note. — In v. 17 we have a citation from Is. liii. 4, which does not precisely agree 
eitiier with the Hebrew or Sej^tuagint. It is here applied to bodily sickness, 
perhaps to shew the connection between sin and sorrow, and how Christ in 
bearing the former, endured all our woes. 



CHAP. VHI. 23-34. 



CHRIST STILLETH THE TEMPEST DRIVETH THE DEVILS OUT OF TWO MEN 

POSSESSED AND SUFFERETH THEM TO GO INTO THE SWINE, 

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, be- 
hold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was 
covered with the waves ; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to 
him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us : we perish. And he saitli 
unto them. Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ? Then he arose, and 
rebuked the vdnds and the sea : and there was a great calm. But the men 
marvelled, saying. What manner of man is this, that even the vdnds and 
the sea obey him ! And when he was come to the other side, into the 
country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, 
coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by 
that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying. What have we to do with 
thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? art thou come hither to torment us before 
the time ? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many 
swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying. If thou cast us out, 
suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them. Go, 
And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine : and 
behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the 
sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went 
their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the 
possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet 
Jesus : and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart 
out of their coasts. 

While Jesus was on his passage to the other side of the lake of 
Gennesareth, a violent storm overtook the vessel : so soon did he 



40 S.MATTHEW. [chap. vui. 23-34. 

give a proof of what he just now said, that they who follow him 
must reckon upon difficulties. The disciples, being afraid, called 
out to him while he lay asleep, and after chiding their want of 
faith, he rebuked the wind, " and there was a great calm." No 
wonder that all in the ship should be astonished at the power of 
Christ, and exclaim, " What manner of man is this, that even the 
winds and the sea obey him!" He thus gave a proof of his divine 
power, which makes " the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof 
are still.*" And can we doubt his power and willingness to help 
us in the deepest waters of affliction, or in the severest storms of 
temptation ? Storms and tempests will certainly overtake every 
child of God ; but when doubts and fears run mountains high, 
they may call to mind this passage of Scripture ; they should 
follow the example of the disciples, and go to Jesus, saying, 
" Lord save us, we perish," and he who rebuked the wind and 
waves, shall restore peace, and calm their troubled souls. 

Our Lord's object in crossing the lake, appears from the 
miracle which he performed immediately on landing : " There 
met him two possessed with devils." It is an instance of the 
power of God over the devils, that although they studied to hurt 
these poor creatures, yet they could not keep them from meeting 
Jesus. These devils addressed Christ as Jesus the Son of God. 
This was a true saying; but it shows us that even the devils 
know, and believe, and confess Christ to be the Son of God, 
and yet they are devils still. Think here upon the word you 
lately read : " Not every one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." But, notwithstanding this con- 
fession, they renounced his authority, saying, " what have we to 
do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? Art thou come hither 
to torment us before the time?" they knew that the incarnate 
Son of God would soon cast them into the depths of hell, and not 
always permit them " to go about like the roaring lion, seeking 
whom they may devour." Yet they hated Christ, and wished 
to have no part with him. Oh ! the depth of heUish malice — 
how has it been infused into fallen man ? how many even now 
say to Jesus— in heart, if not in words, " What have we to do 
with thee ? " 

Observe what a pleasure it is to them to do mischief. When 
expelled from the men, they asked permission to enter the 
swine : they would do harm to the beasts of the field, where they 
could now no longer torment the men ; besides, they doubtless 

* Tsalm cvii. 20. 



CHAP. IX. 1-17.] S. MATTHEW. 41 

aimed at setting the Gadarenes against Christ : they knew how 
men chng to earthly property, and prefer even the swine of this 
world to the adorable Saviour. They were permitted to succeed 
in their design — the herd was lost, and the people were set 
against Christ. If it be a mystery to us that Satan should so 
often succeed in tempting men, it should make us more watchful 
against his snares, and more thankful for being kept from his 
wiles. 

Two reasons may be suggested for our Lord's granting this 
permission : First, to convince the Sadducees who were present, 
that there were such things as spirits, which they denied ; and 
secondly, to punish the Gadarenes, who, though Jews, either ate 
swine themselves, contrary to the Jewish law, or fed them for 
their neighbours. At the sight of this miracle the owners of the 
swine fled ; — but alas ! from whom did they flee ? — from him who 
alone could save them from the power of the devil. They spread 
abroad the news, so that the whole city came out to meet Jesus ; 
but instead of inviting him, they desired him to depart out of 
their coasts. They who will not suffer Christ to have a place in 
their hearts, because it would be the death of their evil lusts, do, 
in fact say to the Almighty, " depart from us — we desire not the 
knowledge of thy ways." 

Note. — In v. 28, the people are called " Gergesenes ; " but " Gadarenes" is the 
more ancient reading, as in Mark v. 1, and Luke viii. 2G. Gadara was accord- 
ing to Josephus, eight miles from Tiberias, at the south-east end of the lake. 



CHAP. IX. 1—17. 



CHRIST HEALETH THE PALSY CALLETH MATTHEW — REFERS TO FASTING. 

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed : 
and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy ; Son, be of 
good cheer ; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes 
said within themselves. This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their 
thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts ? For whether is 
easier, to say. Thy sins be forgiven thee ; or to say Arise, and walk ? But 
that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, 
(then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go 
unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when 
the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given 
such power unto men. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a 
man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom : and he saith unto 
him. Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, 
as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came 



42 S. MATTHEW. [chap. ix. 1-17. 

and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, 
thej said unto his disciples. Why eateth your Master with publicans and 
sinners ? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be 
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn 
what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice : for I am not come 
to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the 
disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy 
disciples fast not ? And Jesus said unto them. Can the children of the 
bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them ? but the 
days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then 
shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth upon an old garment : 
for that which is put in to fill up taketh from the garment, and the rent is 
made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles ; else the 
bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish : but they 
put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. 

You* may remember at the end of the last chapter, that the 
Gadarenes were so vexed at the loss of their swine, that they 
begged Christ would depart from them. Unhappily for them he 
took them at their word, nor do we hear that he ever came into 
their coasts again. In righteous judgment Christ forsakes those 
places and persons that are weary of him, but abides with those 
that desire his stay. The first occurrence after his return to 
Capernaum, (for that was called " his own city," because he re- 
sided there,) was the cure of a man sick of the palsy. His dis- 
temper was such that he could not come to Christ himself, — his 
friends therefore carried him to the house, where Christ was — 
and when they could not get near him on account of the crowd, 
they let him down over the roof into the open area, where Jesus 
stood.* Here is an instance of their faith ; and upon seeing it, 
our Lord said to him, " Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be for- 
given thee." From this we learn the great value of faith — This 
it is which apphes to Christ — this receives Christ's salvation as 
set forth in the word and makes the benefit ours ; " By grace we 
are saved through faith." What can lead any of us to Christ, 
but the knowledge of that sin which is the plague we are afflicted 
with ? God be praised, we have a remedy at hand ; Jesus, — a 
blessed name for sinners ; and the miracle we have just read of, 
may give you sufficient warrant to go to him, if you feel your 
disease, and desire a cure. On heahng the sick man, our Lord 
said, " thy sins be forgiven thee : " this shows us that sin is the 
cause of all our sickness, nor was there any disease in the world, 
until sin had made its appearance. 

St. Matthew gives an account of the manner in which he was 

•' See Mark ii. 2—4. 



CHAP IX. 1—17.] S. MATTHEW. 43 

first led to follow Christ. He had- been a publican, or tax- 
gatherer, and was sitting at the receipt of custom, or the place 
where the taxes were paid — his hands full of business, and his 
head full of calculations, when Jesus passed by, and desired him 
to follow him. He immediately obeyed the call ; he did not ask 
time to finish his business — he left all, and followed him. May 
the Lord in his mercy with like power speak his word to our 
souls, that we may arise and follow him in newness of life, and 
bid farewell to all such love of the world as would keep us from 
him. Matthew being grateful for the favor Jesus had bestowed 
upon him, made a feast for him, and, as will ever be the case 
with all faithful followers of Christ, he was anxious that his 
friends should also benefit by his company ; he therefore invited 
many of the pubhcans — his late associates, to meet him. But 
the self-righteous Pharisees were displeased at our Lord's con- 
descension, and turned it into a ground of accusation against 
him, for keeping company with, what they considered, a de- 
graded race of men. This drew forth from our Lord those 
memorable words which you will do well to consider — " They 
that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." 
" I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." 
Sin, then, you will perceive, in the judgment of our Lord, is 
sickness, and a deadly one too, if it be not removed ; as no per- 
son would think of employing a physician if he was not sensible 
of sickness ; so in like manner, they who do not think them- 
selves sinful, will never apply to Jesus, the great physician of 
souls. He does not mean that there were any persons truly 
righteous who needed him not, but with such as fancied them- 
selves righteous, and boasted of their goodness, he had nothing 
whatever to do. Have you ever felt your sickness ? Have you 
ever gone to that physician to be cured ? Have you looked by 
faith to the Lord Jesus for pardon ? If not, your case is danger- 
ous, and dying in that state you have nothing to expect but a 
fearful looking-for of judgment. 

Our Lord is next called on to explain why his disciples fasted 
not, while the disciples of John and of the Pharisees strictly 
observed that duty. He answers the question by shewing that 
with them it was not a proper season for that duty. The 
disciples of Christ were the children of the bride-chamber, and 
while He, the bridegroom was with them, all sadness should be 
kept at a distance. He would soon leave them, and then they 
would mourn. To explain this further, he refers to some rules 
of prudence among men, with whom it was not usual to sew a 



44 S. MATTHEW. [chap. ix. 18—38. 

new strong piece of cloth to a worn-out garment, which would 
make the rent worse ; neither was it customary to put new wine 
into old leathern bottles (for such were in use in those days) lest 
the old dried skins should burst by the fermentation of the new 
wine, and so all would be lost. In both these comparisons, our 
Lord meant to shew that every thing should have its proper time 
and place. We have seasons of joy and trial, and we must suit 
the ordinance and the promise to this variety, and not carelessly 
put things together that have no agreement. Fasting agrees 
with mourning and penitence, and now that the bridegroom is 
absent, it seems a fit token of the Church's sorrow. He will 
soon return to his waiting people, and then no such token shall 
be required, for sorrow and sighing shall flee away. With what 
judgment and compassion does our blessed Saviour instruct all 
his people ! how does he proportion all things according to their 
strength ! 



CHAP. IX. 18-38. 

THE WOMAN WITH THE BLOODY ISSUE TWO BLIND MEN HEALED THE 

GREATNESS OF THE HARVEST. 

While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler 
and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead : but come 
and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose and 
followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was 
diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched 
the hem of his garment : For she said within herself. If I may but touch 
his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about ; and when he 
saw her, he said. Daughter, be of good comfort ; thy faith hath made 
thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when 
Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people 
making a noise, He said unto them. Give place ; for the maid is not dead, 
but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people 
were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 
And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. And when Jesus de- 
parted thence, two blind men followed him, crjdng, and saying. Thou son 
of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the 
blind men came to him : and Jesus saith unto them. Believe ye that I am 
able to do this ? They said unto him. Yea, Lord. Then touched he their 
eyes, saying. According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were 
opened : and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know 
it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that 
country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man 
possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake ; 
and the multitudes marvelled, saying. It was never so seen in Israel. But 
the Pharisees said. He castcth out devils through the prince of the devils. 



CHAP. IX. 18—38] S. MATTHEW. 4.5 

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their syna- 
gogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sick- 
ness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, 
he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were 
scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his 
disciples. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few : Pray 
ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into 
his harvest. 

The displays of the power and goodness of Christ are varied 
in every conceivable way. How just shall be our condemnation 
if we remain unmoved by these wondrous miracles — all of them 
emblems of spiritual healing— all of them pledges of Christ's 
willingness to save, unless the God of this world bhnd our eyes 
to the real state of our souls. Five miracles are here recorded. 
We shall briefly consider the circumstances of each, and then see 
what practical inference may be drawn from them. 

First, a certain ruler of the synagogue came to plead in be- 
half of his daughter, whom he had left at the point of death, and 
who was actually dead by the time our Lord arrived at his 
house.* The physician's help would then be useless ; but Christ 
is the " resurrection and the life," and " quickeneth whom he 
will." He immediately puts forth those persons, who, according 
to the custom of the Gentiles, were come to stir up lamentations 
with doleful, melancholy musicf He speaks of this young per- 
son's death as if it were only a sleep. The death of the righte- 
ous is but a sleep ; they " sleep in Jesus : " they not only rest 
from toils and labours, but their bodies rest in hope of a joyful 
waking on the morning of the resurrection, when they shall wake 
refreshed — wake to a glorious life — to sleep no more ! By the 
mere touch of his hand, our Lord restored this maid to life. 
While going to the house of this ruler, a certain woman came 
to him, who had an issue of blood twelve years, and of whom 
we are told, in another place, that she had spent all her money 
upon physicians, without deriving any benefit. J Her faith was 
strong, but her modesty forbids her speaking ; she therefore 
touched the hem of Christ's garment, with the expectation of 
being healed, nor was she disappointed. But Christ would not 
allow her to steal this cure, unobserved : he therefore turned 



* Hence Spn h(\evTr)(rev, v. 18, may be justly rendered "is by this time 
dead," which accords with Mark v. 23. 

t The ancient Jewish custom was — to begin the lamentation not with musical 
instruments, but only voices of old women, who in a sad modulation, strove to 
extort lamentation from those who were present. — Hammond. 
X Mark v. 20. 



46 S. MATTHEW. [chap. ix. 18—38. 

round, and pronounced her faith to be the means of her cure, 
while he magnified his power in effecting it. 

Two Wind men next present themselves ; they cry ; but, for 
a trial of their faith, Jesus declines to answer. They were in 
earnest — they longed to be healed, and therefore they followed 
Christ into the house, when, after obtaining a confession of their 
faith, and behef in his power, He who at first said, " let there 
be light, and there was light," now removed the darkness from 
their eyes, and made them capable of enjoying the light of hea- 
ven. — See the calamitous state of the world, and how various 
the afflictions of the afflicted are ! We have no sooner dismissed 
two blind men, than we meet with a dumh man. How thankful 
should we be to God for our sight and speech ! This poor man's 
dumbness was the effect of his being possessed with a devil. 
Christ strikes at the root of the evil : He cast out the devil, 
and the dumb spake. When Paul was converted, behold, he 
prayed * — then the dumb spake. If the spirit of the devil was 
taken out of our hearts, our mouths would oftener show forth 
the praise of the Lord. 

But is there nothing to be gained from these miracles but the 
interest which the narrative -excites ? Yes, truly, there is, and 
we have reason to apprehend the safety of our state, if we look 
merely to the letter, and forget the spirit. What induced these 
people to look out for help ? — the knowledge and feeling of their 
distemper. What brought them to Jesus for help ? — the belief 
and persuasion that he could, and would help them. And what 
engaged him to help and relieve them ? — their faith. Observe 
then, what faith implies. It imphes a sense of want — and an 
appHcation to Jesus for relief, with a firm trust in his grace and 
power. Do you find that any of these poor persons were re- 
jected on coming to Christ? — No. Do you find that they 
waited to get better before they went to Christ ? — No, they 
went at once ; the more sick the patient, the greater need of 
the physician, and the less time to be lost in going to him. 
Read your own case in that of each of these poor petitioners. 
Be not ashamed to confess your wants ; make but trial of the 
Saviour's love, and like them, you will show yoijr thankfulness 
by telling what great things the Lord hath done for your souls. 

St. Matthew closes this interesting chapter by telling us, that 
Jesus went about all the cities and villages, preaching and heal- 
ing. His compassion was moved when he saw so many perish- 

* Acts ix. 11. 



CHAP. X. 1—23.] S. MATTHEW. 47 

ing for lack of knowledge. In the prospect, therefore, of the 
vast multitudes which would soon be gathered into the Church 
both from among the Jews and Gentiles, our Lord stirred up 
his disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth la- 
bourers, i. e. zealous active ministers, into the harvest. Christ 
himself is the Lord of the harvest, and it is instructive to observe, 
that he who urged them to pray, answered that prayer imme- 
diately, as we shall see in the very next chapter. If we now 
look around the world and see the state of many nations, we may 
truly say, that " the harvest is great," but alas ! " the labourers 
are few." Let us follow the directions here given us. Let us 
pray that the Lord may send forth missionaries, able, zealous, 
ministers of the Gospel, who may lead those wandering sheep 
into the fold of Christ's flock. 



CHAP. X. 1—23. 



THE FIRST MISSION OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES. 

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power 
against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sick- 
ness, and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are 
these : the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother ; 
James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother ; Philip, and Bartholomew; 
Thomas, and Matthew the publican ; James the son of Alpheus ; and 
Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddseus ; Simon the Canaanite ; and Judas 
Iscariot who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and com- 
manded them, saying. Go not in the way of the Gentiles, and into any city 
of the Samaritans enter ye not : But go rather to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel. And, as ye go, preach, saying. The kingdom of heaven 
is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils : 
freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver, nor 
brass, in your purses : Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, 
neither shoes, nor yet staves : for the workman is worthy of his meat. 
And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy ; 
and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, 
salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it : but 
if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you, And whosoever shall 
not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, 
shake oflF the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more 
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, 
than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of 
wolves : be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But be- 
ware of men : for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will 
scourge you m their synagogues ; and ye shall be brought before governors 
and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall 



48 S. MATTHEW. [chap. x. 1-23. 

speak ; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
For it is not ye that speak, Wt the Spirit of your Father which speaketh 
in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the 
father the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, and 
cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my 
name's sake ; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when 
they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another ; for verily I say unto 
you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be 
come. 

This chapter may be considered as an ordination sermon 
preached by our Lord when he sent out his apostles. They had 
already been disciples, or scholars ; but now they are advanced 
to the rank and dignity of apostles. They were twelve in num- 
ber^ with reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.* Peter is first 
mentioned, not because he was prince of the apostles, but because 
he was the elder of the first two brothers, who were called to 
follow Christ, and conspicuous for his zeal. James was after- 
wards slain by Herod.f John, the beloved disciple, is often 
afterwards mentioned — he was commissioned to write much on 
his Saviour's love, and the bright prospects of the Church. 
Thaddseus, is the same as Jude, his name is thought to mean 
hearty — to distinguish him from the hypocrite Jude, who was 
also called Iscariot, perhaps from the town of Kerioth, in the 
tribe of Judah. This awful man was even then pointed out as 
the traitor, though as yet he had given no symptoms of his apos- 
tacy. Like the other apostles, he was sent forth to preach and 
to perform miracles, but God foresaw his treachery. Matthew 
was inspired to write the gospel now before us. Of the rest 
we hear but little, though doubtless used by the Lord of the 
harvest. They went forth, destitute of all external advantages 
to recommend them ; they had neither wealth, nor learning, nor 
titles of honour, but they were empowered to work miracles, for 
the confirmation of the doctrine, to prove that it was of God. 
They were commissioned to heal all manner of sickness and dis- 
ease, and that freely. Further, to shew the nature and com- 
plexion of the gospel kingdom, which is offered without money, 
and without price, the instructions given to them were full and 
particular. First, they were not to go to the Gentiles. The 
Jews had the first place in God's afi^ection, and therefore must 
have the first offer of the Gospel : J they were not to provide 
either gold, or silver, or food, for their journey, to shew that 
they must live in dependence upon Divine Providence, and to 

■'■ See Chap. xix. 28. f Actsxii. 1, 2. % See Acts xiii. 46. 



CHAP. X. 24-4-I.] S. MATTHEW. 49 

show further, that they had a right to a maintenance from those 
to whom they preached. 

Having instructed his apostles whither they were to go — what 
work they had to do — and the method they were to take ; Christ 
next prepares them against the dangers and difficulties they were 
likely to meet with. He disguises nothing, he conceals nothing, 
but tells them they must expect even death, in the execution 
of their office. Kings and princes, and the world, with Satan 
at its head, would be opposed to them, but with Christ on their 
side, they had nothing to fear. The Gospel which they should 
preach, would be a Gospel of peace, and still strange to say, 
variance and divisions would follow from their preaching. This 
effect of the preaching of the Gospel, is not the fault of the 
Gospel, but of those whose hearts are opposed to it. When 
some believe the things that are spoken, and others beheve them 
not, the faith and practice of those that believe, condemn those 
that believe not, and therefore they have an enmity against the 
others. This effect follows the preaching of the Gospel, even to 
this day. We may observe it in those families, where some of 
the members are followers of Christ, and where the others follow 
the ways of the world : there must be a division, for the two 
parties are travelling different roads ; but let Christ's admonition 
be regarded now, that whoever suffers the love, even of the near- 
est relation, to draw him from Christ, is not worthy of the name 
of his disciple. 

It is important for us all to note the Saviour's direction to his 
Apostles, in the midst of their enemies. " Be ye therefore wise 
as serpents, and harmless as doves." We all need the same cau- 
tion. The wisdom here commended is not the craft of the world, 
but the spirit of a sound mind, by which we are able to discern 
things that differ, and which enables us to act discreetly to men. 
Harmlessness is not mere negligence, but a holy, consistent, de- 
meanour, — gentle and forbearing, and yet not carried away by 
the wiles of the ungodly. May we thus shew forth the praises 
of our divine Master. 



CHAP. X. 24—42. 



THE APOSTLES WARNED OF VARIOUS TRIALS COMFORTED BY THE PROMISE 

OF DIVINE SUPPORT. 

The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above bis lord. It is 
, enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his 
VOL. I. E 



50 S. MATTHEW. [chap. x. 24—42. 

lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebuh, how much 
more shall they call them of his household ? Fear them not therefore : for 
there is uothing covered that shall not be revealed ; and hid, that shall 
not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light : and 
what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops. And fear 
• not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather 
fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not 
two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall on the 
ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all 
numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many spar- 
rows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I con- 
fess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny 
me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth : I came not to send 
peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his 
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law 
against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own 
household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy 
of me : and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of 
me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not 
worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it : and he that loseth 
his hfe for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me ; 
and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth 
a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; 
and he that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, 
shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to 
drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of 
a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. 

With the prospect of sorrow held out to the apostles in this 
chapter, the Lord adds the most consolatory promises. If for 
example they were to be brought before kings and councils for 
their Master's sake, they were to be endued with " the Spirit of 
their Father," and should know what to say in the most trying 
hour. — If they were to meet with persecution even in the cities of 
Israel, and be obHged to flee from place to place, they were to re- 
member the path of sorrow which their Saviour trod, and not to be 
surprized that the household should be rejected, when they called 
the master Beelzebub, and cast him out. It is a great honour 
to be identified with a suffering Saviour ; " if we suffer with him, 
we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us." 
To console his disciples still further in the prospect of severe 
persecutions and trials, he assures them of his providential care, 
which should never cease to watch over them, and give them a 
happy issue out of all their troubles. The utmost their enemies 
could do, would be to kill the body, but what would that be com- 
pared to the life of their souls. His Providence suffers not a 
sparrow to fall to the ground without hi? permission : lit assures 
them that even the hairs of their heads were numbered ; that 



CHAP. X. 24—42.] S. MATTHEW. .51 

not even the slightest occurrence happened without his divine 
permission. Let all behevers take comfort from this passage ; if 
God numbers their hairs, much more does he take care of their 
lives, their comforts, their souls. They have a cross to bear while 
on earth, and it is often a heavy one, but no heavier than God 
wishes it to be ; let them, then, be comforted, and look to " the 
end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls." 

One of the severest trials mentioned by our Lord is referred 
to in verse 36. " A man's foes shall be they of his own house- 
hold." — It is difficult to oppose the wishes of near relatives. 
The father's frown is more painful than the scorn of strangers — 
the child's sins are too often passed over, and when rebuked, 
rebellion often follows ; strange that religion should produce 
such divisions in a family. It is however not the cause — for 
this lies deep in the carnal nature of man, which hates the light ; 
religion is the innocent occasion.* Can any one blame Christ, 
because a traitor was found in his household ? Can any one 
condemn you, if you prefer Christ's favour and service before 
the good will of all your earthly relations ? But is it so ? 
Have you received the gospel-message for your own salvation ? 
Do you know it ? Are you seriously enquiring after it ? Has 
the message of the Gospel reached your heart ? These apos- 
tles preached, saying, " the kingdom of heaven is at hand ; " 
but the nearer it is to you, the more just will be your condem- 
nation, if you are not found in it. Search, try yourself whe- 
ther you bear the marks of having been translated from the 
kingdom of darkness (your natural state of sin) into the king- 
dom of God's dear Son — the kingdom of grace. Are you at a 
loss to decide this point ? see, then, whether the fruits of grace 
appear in your life ; whether you have fled to Christ for refuge, 
and have been made a partaker of his Holy Spirit. Be assured, 
there will be no entrance for you into glory, unless you 
here receive the grace of God; and let those who are the 
children of God, look to that grace, as a pledge and earnest of 
their future inheritance in glory. 

* John viii. 48—59. 



E 2 



52 S. MATniEW. [chap. xi. 1—15 

CHAP. XI. 1—15, 

JOHN SENDETH HIS DISCIPLES TO CHRIST JOHn's MISSION DESCRIBED. 

And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve 
disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now 
when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of 
his disciples. And said unto him. Art thou he that should come, or do we 
look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them. Go and shew 
John again those things which ye do hear and see : The blind receive 
their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, 
the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they 
departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What 
went ye out into the wilderness to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ? But 
what went ye out for to see ? A man clothed in soft raiment ? behold, they 
that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to 
see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For 
this is he, of whom it is written. Behold, I send my messenger before thy 
face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you. 
Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than 
John the Baptist : notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of 
heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until 
now the kingdom of heaven suflFereth violence, and the violent take it by 
force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if 
ye will receive it, this is EUas, which was for to come. He that hath ears 
to hear, let him hear. 

It has pleased God, in every age, so to deal with his most 
favoured servants, as to show, that though he has raised them 
up, and qualified them for his service, he is not dependant on 
them for the support of his work. How often do we see the 
most zealous servants of the Lord laid upon a bed of sickness, or 
cut off by an untimely death ? He puts down one, and sets up 
another, just as he sees best. How strongly does this appear in 
the case of John the baptist : he had but a short time entered 
upon his useful ministry, when his labours were closed by his 
being cast into prison. We cannot imagine, that after the 
many testimonies he had received of Jesus being the true Mes- 
siah, his own faith was at all staggered by this imprisonment : 
but we can well conceive that his disciples, on hearing the won- 
derful miracles which Christ had wrought, might have supposed, 
that if he were the true Messiah, he would have shown more 
regard for John, and used his Almighty power to liberate him. 
Therefore, for the confirmation of Meir faith, John sends two of 
them to Jesus, to inquire whether he were the true Messiah, or 



CHAP. XT. 1—15.] S. MATTHEW. 63 

not.* To these messengers, our Lord gave not a mere verbal 
testimony, but he gave them the fullest evidence of their senses ; 
he performed miracles in their presence, and desired them to tell 
John what they had seen and heard. One part of our Lord's 
testimony concerning himself must not be passed unnoticed : he 
appeals to the fact, that " the poor had the Gospel preached to 
them." It was foretold that " the poor- of the flock " should 
wait upon him, that he should " deliver the needy when he crieth 
— the poor also and him that had no helper." f The Gospel of 
Christ is still the same ; its blessings are now offered to the poor^ 
because pecuharly suited to their condition ; and the Bible, 
which declares these blessings, is as much the property of the 
poor, as it is of the rich. 

After these messengers had departed, our Lord bore testi- 
mony to the character of John in the most exalted terms. The 
people had flocked to him from every quarter, and our Lord had 
asked them what sort of a person they had expected to hear and 
see : they had not travelled to see a fickle man " like a reed 
shaken with the wind ; " or a soft, effeminate man, like those 
brought up in courts, or " king's houses ; " but a prophet, who, 
with self-denying labour, and unshaken stedfastness, was instruct- 
ing and reforming the land ; and indeed he was like Elijah of 
old, whose spirit and character he bore, agreeably to the pro- 
phetic representation that had been given of him four hundred 
years before ; j yea, he was greater than any of the Old Testa- 
ment prophets, for they only saw Christ at a distance, and spake 
of him as one to come ; but John saw him already come : they 
said " A virgin shall conceive," — John pointed to Him and said, 
" Behold the Lamb of God." Yet eminent as John was, our 
Lord told his hearers, that the least in the kingdom of God was 
greater than he. John came in the dawn of the Gospel day, 
and therein excelled the foregoing prophets ; but he was taken 
off" before the noon of that day, before Christ's death and resur- 
rection, and the outpouring of the Spirit ; so that the least of 
the apostles and evangelists, having had greater discoveries 
made to them, was greater than John. " The kingdom of God " 
often means his kingdom of grace ; taken in this sense, it here 
would refer, not only to the apostles or ministers of the Gospel, 

* It has been a matter of controversy from the first, whether John made his 
enquiry for his own conviction, or for the good of his disciples. Chrysostom, 
among the ancients (Homily 36 on St. Mat.) and Whitby among modern 
writers have clearly proved the latter. 

t Psalm Ixxii. 12. + See Mai. iv. 5, 6 



54 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xi. 16—30. 

but to all true Christians, who by a fuller discovery of Christ's 
character, and by a richer experience of his love, occupy a more 
exalted state than even John the Baptist. What reason have 
we to be thankful that our lot is cast in these days, under such 
advantages of light and knowledge ! We have both the New 
Testament doctrine to explain the Old Testament prophecies, 
and the Old Testament prophecies to confirm and illustrate 
the doctrine of the New. The greater our advantages, the 
greater will our guilt be, if we " receive the grace of God in 
vain." 

It is said in the 12th verse, that "the kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." This vio- 
lence denotes a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of desire. 
They who would enter into the kingdom of heaven, must 
" strive to enter in." That kingdom suffers a holy violence ; 
self must be denied ; the frame and temper of the mind must be 
altered ; a force must be put upon our corrupt nature ; we must 
run, and wrestle, and fight, (but not in our own strength,) and 
all little enough to win such a prize. " The violent take it by 
force." They are determined to have un interest in Christ 
upon any terms, therefore they labour incessantly in prayer. 
Do you know any thing of this holy ardour, this struggHng 
and striving in prayer, or do you expect to be saved in a quiet, 
easy way, while others feel such anxiety for the salvation of 
their souls ? Be not deceived ; God never intended to indulge 
the ease of triflers, but to provide a rest for them that labour. 
We would point out Christ to you as " the way ; " give all 
diligence now, and, however careless you have hitherto been, 
strive to enter by that way, and so shall you make your calling 
and election sure. 

Note on v. 12. — Some interpret /Siatrrai hy the " publicans and soldiers," who 
as given to rapine deserved the name of " violent ; " the word only occurs here 
in the New Testament, but in classic authors it seems to refer to the serious 
attention and ardent desire of the mind, as well as to outward violence. 
See W'olfii Curae Philologicoe. vol. i. p. 190. 



CHAP. XI. 16—30. 

CHRIST UPBRAIDETH CHORAZIN, &C. BABES ARE TAUGHT — INVITATION TO 

THE WEARY. 

But whereunto shall I liken this generation ? It is like unto children sitting 
in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped 



CHAP. XI. 16-30.] S. MATTHEW. 55 

unto you, and ye have not danced ; we have mourned unto you, and ye 
have not lamented. For John came neither eatmg nor drinking, and they 
say. He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and 
they say. Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of pubUcans 
and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. Then began he to 
upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because 
they repented not : Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! 
for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre 
and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
But I say unto you. It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the 
day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted 
unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell : for if the mighty works, 
which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have 
remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tole- 
rable for the laud of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At 
that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven 
and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, 
and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so. Father : for so it seemed 
good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father : and 
no man knoweth the Sou, but the Father, ; neither kuoweth any man the 
Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come 
unto me, all ye that labour and are hea^y laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly in 
heart : aiid ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and 
my burden is light.* 

Our Lord exposes the perverseness of the Jews by an apt 
similitude. They resembled sullen children, who, being out of. 
temper, quarrel with all the attempts of their fellows to please 
them. Their companions try to engage them by piping a 
cheerful tune, but they peevishly refuse to dance to it ; and if 
they imitate the mournful strains, used at the houses of the dead, 
they refuse to lament. Thus the Jews found fault with all 
the attempts which God made to draw them to repentance. 
John Baptist came in a retired, abstemious manner, and with 
him they found fault for not mixing in their society. Christ 
came in a more free and social manner, and him they also cen- 
sured, as " gluttonous and a wine-bibber ; " so that as nothing 
could please them, all the invitations of the Lord were rejected. 
We shall one day know the wisdom of God in all his dealings 
with us — what calls we have had — what various occasions of 
improvement — and how he has endeavoured to suit himself to 
us, and work upon us, whether by prosperity or adversity, riches 
or poverty, sickness or health. 

* Men are heavy laden — 1. With crosses. 2. With rigour of law. 3. With 
Sin. Christ delivers from all. His yoke is easy only to him who can say — 
" that to obey is to reign." — See Leigh's Annotations, citing Bernard and 
Augustine. 



56 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xi. 1(5—30. 

We next read that a solemn woe was pronounced by our 
Lord upon those cities in which most of his miracles had been 
performed, because their inhabitants remained impenitent. The 
doom of Chorazin and Bethsaida would be heavier than that of 
Tyre and Sidon, because these latter cities did not possess so 
many advantages as the former ; and as to Capernaum, where 
our Lord chiefly resided, and which was exalted to heaven by 
extraordinary privileges, these would only tend to sink it deeper 
into hell, because such advantages were not improved. What 
cause have we to tremble when we read these words ! Consider 
the advantages which we have, even beyond what Capernaum 
enjoyed ; and if, after all, we are uninfluenced by the Gospel, 
how heavy shall be our doom ! Surely it shall be far more 
tolerable for the heathen in the day of judgment, than for the 
wicked professors of Christianity ; and there can be no doubt, 
but that multitudes of the inhabitants of this favoured land shall 
perish with deeper condemnation than those of Tyre, or even 
than those of Sodom or Gomorrah. 

Jesus returns thanks to God, in that he was pleased to con- 
ceal the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven from the learned 
Scribes and wise men of the nation, and, at the same time, to 
reveal them to the poor and unlearned — to men of mean educa- 
tion, who were despised for their ignorance, but who were also 
simple, humble and teachable as children. Is this a fact ? Can 
the unlearned poor attain to the knowledge of the truth ? Yes ; 
they are better fitted for it, and, in Christ's judgment, more 
likely to embrace it, than others ; because the wise of this world 
are inclined to apply their own knowledge to the discovery of 
the truth, whereas nothing but the Spirit of God can give any 
person a saving knowledge, and this Spirit the poor can obtain 
as freely as the rich and learned. Why then will you plead 
your want of learning, and your station in life, as an excuse for 
not understanding God's word ? Let your wants bring you to 
Christ, and you shall knoM^ all that is essential. " The world by 
wisdom knows not God : " let it be your wisdom to come to 
Christ in an humble, teachable spirit ; remembering, that you 
can have no saving knowledge of God, except as it is revealed 
to you by the Holy Spirit. 

But if a sense of un worthiness should tempt you to stay away, 
hear what comfortable words Christ says to you — " Come unto 
me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest." You who are weary with a load of sin, and who groan 
on account of a sinful nature, come to Jesus ; you, too, who 



CHAP. XII. 1-21.] S. MATTHEW. 57 

groan under a weight of heavy trial and affliction, come ; the 
words are addressed to all, high and low, rich and poor, master 
and servant, old and young ; come to Jesus and he will give you 
rest ; yea, a two-fold rest, peace with God now, as the best sup- 
port of the soul ; and the perfect rest of glory, which shall never 
be interrupted by sin or sorrow. Christ is meek and lowly in 
heart, the best teacher you can have. Learn your lessons at his 
feet, and pray to be like him. He will not reject you, because 
you have been sinners ; He calls you for that very reason to 
come to him, and he will enable you to forsake your sins : but 
if this seems hard, and you refuse to come, either because you 
think you can justify yourselves, or because you like your sins 
better than his forgiveness and holiness, you must be left to 
your own choice, and that is — never to know God and "Christ 
— never to know a saving work of the Spirit — never to know 
ease and freedom, rest and peace, but to have the galling yoke 
of sin here, and to he under the heavy punishment of it for 
ever hereafter ! 



CHAP. Xn. 1—21. 



WHAT MAY BE LAWFULLY DONE ON THE SABBATH. 

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn ; and his 
disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to 
eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy dis- 
ciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he 
said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hun- 
gered, and they that were with him ; How he entered into the house of 
God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, 
neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests ? Or have 
ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the 
temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless .'' But I say unto you, That 
in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what 
this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have 
condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sab- 
bath day. And when he was departed thence, he went into their syna- 
gogue : And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And 
they asked him, saying. Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days 1 that 
they might accuse him. And he said unto them, WTiat man shall there 
be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the 
sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out 1 How much then 
is a man better than a sheep 1 Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the 
sabbath days. Then saith he to the man. Stretch forth thine hand. And 
he stretched it forth ; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then 
the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might 
destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence : 



58 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xii. 1—21, 

and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all ; And charged 
them that they should not make him known : That it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, 
whom I have chosen ; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased : I 
will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 
He shall not strive, nor cry ; neither shall any man hear his voice in the 
streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not 
quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall 
the Gentiles trust. 

We are here informed that the Pharisees, who were ever watch- 
ing for an opportunity of condemning our Lord and his disciples, 
brought an accusation against them for a breach of the Sabbath. 
In going to the synagogue on the Sabbath, or on returning from 
it, the disciples, being hungry, plucked the ears of corn, rubbed 
them in their hands, and ate. The law allowed them to pull some 
ears in this manner, while passing through a corn-field.* It was 
not therefore to their taking another man's property that the 
Pharisees objected, but because they considered it equivalent to 
reaping and threshing the grain on the Sabbath-day. Thus 
they were very zealous about trifles, but openly violated the 
weightier commandments. They " strained at a gnat, and 
swallowed a camel." But our Lord justifies the conduct of his 
disciples in this apparent breach of the law, by bringing forward 
two examples. They all allowed that David was a prophet, 
and a man after God's heart, yet, in circumstances of urgent 
necessity, he had not scrupled to eat the shew-bread, and to 
give it to his attendants ; though the law required that none but 
the priests should eat it.f The priests themselves, also, at the 
temple, performed a great deal of labour on the Sabbath, in pre- 
paring the sacrifices, tending the fire on the altar, &c. yet it Avas 
allowed that they were blameless in what they did. These two 
examples proved that works of absolute necessity may be done on 
the Sabbath. 

On another Sabbath, the Pharisees seeing a man with a 
withered hand, watched our Lord if he would heal him. He 
therefore asked if a single sheep of theirs were to fall into a pit 
on the Sabbath, would they omit to pull it out ; yet this would be 
attended with labour, whilst his healing miracles were performed 
without any. Having thus silenced them, he ordered the man 
to stretch forth his withered hand, and he was immediately cured. 
Thus our Lord explained the law of the Sabbath, and from his 
answers we learn, that works of absolute necessity, and ivorks 

* See Deut. xxiii. 25. t 1 Sam. xxi. 3. 



CHAP. XII. 1—21.] S. MATTHEW. .59 

of mercy, are lawful to be done on his holy day. Let us, how- 
ever, beware, lest Satan tempt us to call those works necessary, 
which are not so : none can be sanctioned, except they are per- 
formed in the service of God, and in some way tend to his glory, 
or the benefit of our fellow-creatures. 

But we have much to learn from this miracle of healing per- 
formed on the poor man with the withered hand. Like the other 
miracles of Christ, it may have a spiritual application, and may 
point to that disease which we all labour under — sin. It is 
Christ only, by the power of his grace, who can cure us ; and in 
order to our cure, he commands us to stretch forth our hands ; 
to stretch them out in prayer to God ; to stretch them out to lay 
hold on him by faith. Now, this man could not stretch forth 
his withered hand of himself, any more than the impotent man 
could arise to carry his bed, or Lazarus come forth out of his 
grave ; yet Christ bid him to do it, and in the attempt, strength 
was communicated to him. God says to us, " Awake, thou that 
sleepest, and arise from the dead ;" but we can neither awake, nor 
arise from the dead, unless Christ enables us. We must, there- 
fore, pray for strength to obey the command, and rest upon his 
promise, wherein he says, " Turn ye at my reproof, and I will 
pour out my Spirit." Those who perish are as inexcusable as 
this man would have been if he had not attempted to stretch 
forth his hand, and so had not been healed ; while those who are 
saved, have no more to boast of than this man had of contributing 
to his own cure, by stretching forth his hand ; but are as much 
indebted to the power and grace of God as he was. 

Young beginners in religion are weak ; some little life has been 
given, but it is like that of a bruised reed, when it is only held 
together by a slender shred ; some little heat — but it is like that 
of smoking flax, in which the spark is so small, that its existence 
is only known by the smoke which it emits. But see the com- 
passion of Christ ; he will not discourage these weak Christians ; 
the reed that is bruised shall not be broken and trodden down, 
but shall be supported and strengthened ; the newly-lighted wick, 
though it only smokes, and does not flame, shall not be extin- 
guished. Are you united to Christ even by a slender faith ? 
Have you even a spark of grace within your soul ? Though 
your faith be weak, yet if it be real — if it be the gift of God, he 
will take care of his own work, and will lead you on from strength 
to strength. But, oh ! remember, that until this spark of a new 
life is lighted in your soul, you have neither part, nor lot, in 
Christ ; and if you die without it, it would be better for you had 
jou never been born. 



60 S. MATTHEW, [chap. xn. 22-50. 



CHAP. XII. 22—50. 

THE PHARISEES ASCRIBE CHRISt's MIRACLES TO SATAN BLASPHEMY AGAINST 

THE HOLY GHOST. 

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, bhnd, and dumb : 
and he healed him, insomuch that the bhnd and dumb both spake and 
saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is this the Son of 
David ? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not 
cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus 
knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom di\-ided against 
itself is brought to desolation ; and every city or house divided against 
itself shall not stand : and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against 
himself ; how shall then his kingdom stand ? And if I by Beelzebub 
cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out ? therefore they 
shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then 
the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a 
strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong 
man 1 and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against 
me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad. Wherefore I 
say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto 
men : but the blasphemy against the Holi/ Ghost shall not be forgiven unto 
men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be 
forgiven him : but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall 
not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good ; or else make the tree 
corrupt, and his fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit. O 
generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things ? for out 
of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of 
the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things : and an evil 
man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto 
you. That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account 
thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, 
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes 
and of the Pharisees answered, saying. Master, we would see a sign from 
thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous gene- 
ration seeketh after a sign ; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the 
sign of the prophet Jonas : For as Jonas was three days and three nights 
in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three 
nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judg- 
ment with this generation, and shall condemn it : because they repented 
at the preaching of Jonas ; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, 
and shall condemn it : for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth, 
to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is 
here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through 
dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return 
into my house from whence I came out ; and when he is come, he findeth 
it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goetli he, and taketh with himself 
seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell 
there : and the last stale of that man is worse than the first. Even so 



CHAP. XII. 22—50.] S. MATTHEW. fil 

shall it be also unto this wicked generation. While he yet talked to the 
people, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to 
speak with him. Then one said unto him. Behold, thy mother and thy 
brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered 
and said unto him that told him. Who is my mother ? and who are my 
brethren ? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and 
said. Behold my mother and my brethren ! For whosoever shall do the 
will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, 
and mother. 

We here read of an astonishing miracle performed by Christ. 
There was brought to him a man both blind and dumb. What 
a miserable case was his ! he could neither see to help himself, 
nor speak to express his wants. A soul in its unconverted state 
is just in the like situation ; — it is bhnd to the things of God, and 
dumb at the throne of grace : Satan blinds the eye of faith, and 
seals the lip of prayer. If this be your present state, observe, 
for your comfort, what follows: Christ came to destroy the 
works of Satan ; and hence, upon this poor man's being brought 
to him, he healed him by casting out the devil, so that he spake 
and saw. Follow this man's example — make apphcation to 
Christ, and the same effect will follow ; your eyes shall be 
opened to see God's glory, and your lips to sing his praise. 
This miracle astonished the people, insomuch that they said, 
" Is not this the son of David? " The common people, you see, 
judged right. It was a clear case with them, that if Christ cast 
out devils, then the kingdom of God was come unto them. But 
the Pharisees, conceited of their knowledge, boldly affirmed that 
he wrought his miracles by the help of the devil. This assertion 
our Lord soon disproved, by showing that Satan was too wise to 
assist in ruining his own cause ; for, as every kingdom or family 
which is divided into parties, contending with each other, must 
be weakened and ruined ; so, it was evident, that if Satan aided 
Christ in casting out devils, the infernal kingdom was divided 
against itself, and could not therefore stand. 

Our Lord's power in casting out devils is represented by an 
apt similitude. How could any one enter into a strong man's 
house and plunder his property, whilst he was on his guard, un- 
less he was superior in strength, and first overpowered the strong 
man ? Thus it was evident, that Jesus by his divine power was 
superior to Satan, or he never could rescue the bodies and souls 
of men from his dominion. This strong man, Satan, has posses- 
sion of all our hearts by nature, and his power is greater than 
our's, so that, of ourselves, we cannot shake off his yoke ; but we 
see here that Jesus has proved his superior power : if then we 



62 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xii. :>2— oO. 

feel Satan's bondage hard, and sin to be a burden, a word from 
Christ can remove it all, and to him alone we should go for help ; 
He is as wilHng as he is able to relieve us. 

The Lord Jesus having illustrated so fully his powerover Satan, 
goes on to warn the unbelieving Jews of their danger in rejecting 
him — the stronger man. They had attributed his miracles to 
the influence of Satan instead of the finger of God, and therefore 
they sinned grievously against the Son of man. This sin, how- 
ever, might be forgiven, and perhaps was actually forgiven to some 
present, on the day of Pentecost. Then, however, the dispen- 
sation of the Spirit would commence — a still clearer light would 
be given, and if they continued rejecting Christ's miracles they 
might be given up to an hardened heart, and they would then re- 
ject the gospel of peace with all that evidence of its truth, which 
was graciously vouchsafed by the out-pouring of the Spirit.* We 
have reason to fear that many did thus sin against the Holy 
Ghost at the first preaching of the apostles, and were given up to 
an impenitent heart ; and we have also reason to fear the same 
judgment, if we trifle with our means — for then God may leave 
us to wilful unbelief, and never convert us to himself. We can- 
;iot, indeed, pronounce of others that they have committed the 
sin against the Holy Ghost, but rather watch ourselves against 
all sin. Neither should tender consciences be overwhelmed 
with the fear of having committed it — their very dread of having 
done so, is an evidence that they are not given up to final impeni- 
tence and unbelief. Let us all remember that the best way of 
guarding against this, and every sin, is to have the heart purified 
by the Spirit of God, and thence will flow all those fruits of the 
Spirit which adorn our profession — and out of the abundance of 
a grateful heart, we shall utter such things as shall glorify God 
and edify man. 

Notwithstanding all the miracles which the Scribes and Phari- 
sees had witnessed, we find them still dissatisfied and unbelieving. 
They ask from our Lord a further sign of his divine mission ; 
but though he would not grant their request in the way they 
wished, he yet informs them, that another sign should be given 
in his resurrection, of which the Prophet Jonah was a type ; for 
as he was delivered by the power of God, after having been 
three days in the whale's belly, so Christ should be restored to 
life, after having been three days in the body of the earth ; — 

* See more fully in Whitby and Doddridge, who shew that this sin was not 
committed so much in Christ's day as in the clearer light of the dispensation of 
the Spirit, commencing with the pentecostal effusion. 



ciiAF. xii. 22—50.] S. MATTHEW. €>:} 

thus Jonah was a sign to them. We find from the book of 
Jonah that the men of Nineveh were grievous sinners, and that 
God was about to destroy them, but previously, the Prophet 
Jonah was sent to preach to them : — He did preach, and they 
repented. Our Lord brings forward this example, to prove the 
obstinacy of the Jews, under their superior advantages. Jonah 
was a mere man, but Christ was the Son of God — Jonah 
wrought no miracles, but Christ wrought many miracles : yet 
the Ninevites " repented at the preaching of Jonah," but the 
Jews were unmoved by the preaching of Jesus. In like 
manner the Queen of Sheba would appear against the Jews to 
their deeper condemnation,* she came from a great distance, 
and uninvited, to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and when she 
came, she believed ; not so the Jews, they heard him speak, 
who was wisdom itself, yet they believed not. How ready are 
we to blame their obstinacy, and wonder at their unbelief; but 
was none of all this intended for us ? yes, surely ; for like the 
Jews we may be full of doubt and carnal reasoning. The 
question is, are we decided in following the Lord Christ ? 
Have we, according to Christ's command, renounced the world, 
the flesh, and the devil ? If not, we still reject Christ as much as 
the Jews, yea, more so, for like Judas, we acknowledge him, 
while at the same time, we betray him for the sake of some 
worldly gratification, or for the pleasures of sin. 

Our Lord further describes the danger of the unbelieving 
Jews by a parable, taken from the case of a demoniac. He sup- 
poses the evil spirit to depart from a person who had been pos- 
sessed, and after trying in vain to possess some other person, it 
wanders about disconsolate, till after seeking rest and finding 
none, it returns to its former habitation, and finding no tenant 
there, it enters with increased power and virulence. Thus the 
preaching of John had in some degree dispelled the evil spirit 
from the Jews, but this was only for a season — it was a reforma- 
tion of manners, and not a conversion of heart. The evil 
spirit would tempt the unbelieving Jews to reject Christ, and 
then return to his house again, so that their last state would be 
worse than the first. This parable is also applicable to our- 
selves : we may hear the word of God, we may be convinced 
of its truth, we may be in part reformed, but not truly con- 
verted ; thus, the unclean spirit may retire for a while ; but if 
Christ be not welcomed to dwell in our heart, if He do not 

* 1 Ivings X. 7, 8. 



64 S.MATTHEW. [chap. xiii. 1-23. 

occupy that place which Satan has left, the evil spirit finding 
his habitation empty, swept from convictions and serious 
impressions, will return again, and render us seven-fold more 
callous and inveterate than before. 

While our Lord was discoursing in this manner, he was in- 
terrupted by the arrival of his mother and some of his nearest 
relations, who, from some erroneous motives, wanted him, per- 
haps, to desist from his labours. But Jesus was aware of their 
intention, and inquired who his mother and brethren were, in- 
timating thereby, that even they had no right to interfere in 
respect of his important work ; and then stretching forth his 
hands towards his disciples, he declares that they were his 
mother and his brethren, and that his spiritual love to them was 
greater than any mere natural affection which he bore to his 
relations. Nor does he confine these expressions of love to the 
disciples then present, for he says, whosoever will do the will of 
God, the same is ray brother, and sister and mother. What is 
all earthly kindred to this relationship ? And what words can 
express your folly, if you despise the blessing here offered you ? 



CHAP. XIII. 1—23. 



THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER AND THE SEED THE EXPOSITION OF IT. 

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side. And 
great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so. that he went into a 
ship, and sat ; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake 
many things unto them in parables, saying. Behold, a sower went forth to 
sow : And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way- side, and the fowls 
came and devoured them up : Some fell upon stony places, where they 
had not much earth ; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no 
deepness of earth : And when the sun was up, they were scorched : and 
because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among 
thorns : and the thorns sprung up, and choked them : But other fell into 
good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty- 
fold, some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the 
disciples came, and said unto him. Why speakest thou unto them in 
parables ? He answered and said unto them. Because it is given unto you 
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not 
given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have 
more abundance ; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away 
even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables : because they 
seeing, see not, and hearing, they hear not ; neither do they understand. 
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith. By hearing 
ye shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye shall see, and shall 
not perceive : For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are 
dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed ; lest at any time they 



CHAP. XIII. 1-23.] S. MATTHEW. 65 

should see with their eyes, and hear mth their ears, and should understand 
Avith their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But 
blessed are your eyes, for they see ; and your ears, for they hear. For 
verily I say unto you. That many prophets and righteous men have desired 
to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear 
those things which ye hear, and have not heard the^n. Hear ye therefore 
the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the king- 
dom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth 
away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by 
the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same 
is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it : Yet hath he 
not root in himself, but dureth for a while ; for when tribulation or perse- 
cution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also 
that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word ; and the 
care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and 
he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground 
is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it ; which also heareth 
fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. 

It was the constant practice of our Lord to suit his preaching 
to the understanding of the people whom he addressed, and as 
it was " the common people who heard him gladly," while the 
rich and learned despised him, he generally explained his doc- 
trine by illustrations borrowed from the common concerns of life. 

The portion of Scripture just read, gives a specimen of his 
usual style ; he wished to show the people what the great hin- 
drances are which prevent so many profiting by the preaching 
of the Gospel, and for this purpose he presents a scene which 
all were familiar with — that of a husbandman sowing. The man 
went forth, sowing his seed, and if every spot was not alike pro- 
ductive, it must be owing to the difi'erence of the soil. Some of 
his seeds fell on the high road, and they, of course, were imme- 
diately picked up by the birds ; others fell on stony ground, 
and though for a time they promised well, yet in the end they 
perished for lack of moisture ; others again fell in a rude, uncul- 
tivated spot, where thorns and briars were allowed to remain, 
and their growth was naturally checked, and the tender blade 
was smothered : while some fell upon ground which had been 
previously ploughed, and prepared, and so they flourished and 
brought forth the expected fruit. 

This parable is thus spiritualized : Christ is the chief hus- 
bandman ; the seed is the word of the Gospel which is contained 
in the Bible ; this seed is sown by Christ, either immediately, 
or by his ministers. Some persons only sow chaff, but such are 
not Christ's faithful servants, and their chaff will never bring 
forth fruit ; Christ's godly ministers will preach the pure, simple, 
doctrine of the Bible : this is like true, clean grain, which has 

VOL. I. F 



66 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xiii. 1—23. 

life in it. The ground in which this good seed is sown, is the 
hearts of men. A faithful minister preaches the word of God ; 
some of his congregation have hearts as hard as the public road, 
so that nothing can penetrate them ; they hear the word, but 
how long does it remain ? just so long as they are within the 
walls of the house of God, and no sooner do they leave that 
house, than the world rushes into the mind. Satan, ever 
watchful, prepares some temptation ; the instruction which was 
heard, is removed, as the seed is picked up by the birds, and 
no fruit can follow. Is this your case ? Oh ! forget not that 
you will be called to account for every grain of instruction, 
rebuke, and warning, which ever was cast upon the ground of 
your heart. 

The stony ground hearers are not apparently so bad. They 
retain what they hear even beyond the walls of the church ; they 
promise to do well, and for a while seem hopeful : but they are 
ridiculed for their religion, they are persecuted on account of 
it, and this they cannot bear ; their unconverted hearts were 
only covered over with a superficial appearance of sincerity, and 
like the grain which is exposed to the sun from above, and has a 
rocky bed beneath, they perish for want of spiritual support. 
There are multitudes of this class who, for a while show the 
blade of profession, where there is not the root of grace. In 
order to bear the heat of the sun, a plant must be well watered, 
and must have depth of earth to retain the moisture ; so, a per- 
son's heart must be softened and prepared by the Spirit, and he 
will then derive sap and nourishment from Christ, without which 
he never can outhve the persecution, the dangers, and difficulties, 
to which he will be exposed in the world. 

Some of the minister's congregation are more hopeful than 
either of the former ; their hearts seem tender and suitably dis- 
posed, but no pains have been taken to stop the growth of 
worldly-mindedness, to remove the indulgence of sinful pleasure, 
or to check the deadening influence of prosperity ; and so, like 
seed overgrown by briars and thorns, their fair professions 
wither and die. Alas ! how many such are there in the world ! 
they think to allow brambles and wheat to grow in the same 
field — religion and worldly pleasure to spring up together : but 
it is impossible ; it is a divided service, which God will disdain. 
If this be your case, pray of God to remove these brambles, 
root and branch, from your heart, that the word of his grace 
may have free room to enlarge and fructify. 

One class of hearers, alone, are represented as deriving ad- 



I 



CHAP. XIII. 24—58.] S. MATTHEW. 67 

vantage from the preaching of the Gospel ; they are those who 
receive the word in a good heart. And what is a good heart ? 
let us first inquire what we should consider to be good ground ? 
such, surely, as had been well ploughed, well manured, softened 
by the rain of heaven, and prepared by the hands of the hus- 
bandman. And all this must be done, spiritually, to our hearts, 
before they can be called good. They are, by nature, as hard 
as the high road, which is impenetrable to any seed, and leaves 
the grain exposed on the surface. But even the high road could 
be made fruitful by proper pains and culture — so also can our 
naturally hard hearts. Do we then desire to profit by the preaching 
of the Gospel, and to bring forth fruit to the glory of God ? 
let us pray of him to break these hard and stony hearts, to 
cause the dew of his grace to fall, and the unction of his Holy 
Spirit to be shed abroad upon them, and so shall they be ready 
to receive and retain the good seed of the kingdom of God : let 
us recollect that good hearts are prepared hearts, such as God 
has made fit for the reception of the Gospel. No other hearts 
can be called good. 

Do we wish to know if our hearts are thus prepared ? it can 
be easily ascertained ; we know that abundance of seed has been 
repeatedly sown ; is it growing ? are we bringing forth the 
fruits of righteousness and holiness ? Let each of us then pray, 
" Lord, prepare my heart, make it soft and tender, for Christ's 
sake send thy Holy Spirit, that thy word may take root within 
me ;" then we shall have peace and joy in believing, and shall 
escape the curse pronounced on those whose " hearts are waxed 
gross, whose ears are dull of hearing," and whose hearts are 
closed against the gospel, lest they should be converted and 
live. 

Note. — Teelman, cited by Trench, gives an excellent definition of a parable — "A 
similitude taken from ordinary things to set forth something spiritual and 
heavenly." — On the nature and interpretation of parables, see Trench's 
admirable work. — Notes on the parables of our Lord Jesus Christ, chap. i. 
and chap. iii. 



CHAP. XHI 24—58. 

PARABLES OF THE TARES OF THE MUSTARD SEED OF THE LEAVEN OF 

THE PEARL. 

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kmgdom of heaven is 
likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field : But while men 
F 2 



! S. MATTHEW. [chap. xtii. 24—58, 

slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared 
the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto 
him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field ? from whence then hath 
it tares ? He said unto them. An enemy hath done this. The servants 
said mito him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up ? But he 
said, Nay ; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat 
with them. Let both grow together until the harvest : and in the time of 
harvest I will say to the reapers. Gather ye together first the tares, and 
bind them in bundles to burn them : but gather the wheat into my barn. 
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven 
is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his 
field : Which indeed is the least of all seeds : but when it is grown, it is 
the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the 
air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto 
them : The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and 
hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things 
spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables ; and without a parable spake 
he not unto them : That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the pro- 
phet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables ; I will utter things which 
have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent 
the multitude away, and went into the house : and his disciples came imto 
him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He an- 
swered and said unto them. He that soweth the good seed is the Son of 
man : the field is the world : the good seed are the cliildren of the king- 
dom : but the tares are the children of the wicked one : The enemy that 
sowed them is the devil : the harvest is the end of the world ; and the 
reapers are angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the 
fire ; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send 
forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that 
oflFend, and them which do iniquity ; And shall cast them into a furnace 
of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the 
righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath 
ears to hear, let him hear. Again : The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
treasure hid in a field ; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and 
for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 
Again, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man seeking goodly 
pearls : Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all 
that he had, and bought it. Again, The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind : Which, when 
it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into 
vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world : the 
angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And 
shall cast them into the furnace of fire ; there shall be wailing and gnashing 
of teeth. Jesus saith unto them. Have ye understood all these things? 
They say unto him. Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them. Therefore every 
scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man 
that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new 
and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, 
he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he 
taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and 
said. Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works ? Is not 
this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, 
James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas ? iVnd his sisters, are they not 



CHAP. XIII. 24:— 58.] S. MATTHEW. 69 

all with us ? Whence then hath this man all these things ? And they were 
offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without 
honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not 
many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. 

The latter part of this chapter, which has just been read, con- 
tains several parables, all tending to give a familiar explanation 
of the doctrines of the Gospel. They are all so instructive, 
that a little must be said on each. First, our Lord \vishing to 
show the people that there, would always be a mixture of good 
and bad in the Gospel church, till the great separation at the 
last day, explained his meaning by the case of a man who sowed 
good seed in his ground ; but no sooner had he done so, than a 
designing enemy tried to spoil his labour, by sowing tares * in 
the same field, expecting that in rooting out the weeds, some of 
the good crop might be destroyed. But the wise husbandman 
defeated the plan, by suffering both to grow together till the 
harvest, when they could be easily separated ; the good corn 
laid up in the granary, and the weeds consigned to the flames. 
Thus is it in the visible church : God made man upright, but 
Satan has sowed the seeds of sin. At present, good and bad, 
righteous and unrighteous, profess the name of Christ, and call 
themselves Christians. It is impossible now to separate hypo- 
crites from the sincere followers of Christ ; they have been in 
the Church catholic from the beginning, and will be found there 
until the Saviour returns to reign. f Then the angels will " cast 
out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do 
iniquity," — a declaration which proves that this binding and burn- 
ing of the tares, answers to the destruction of the wicked, who 
shall be found living among the righteous, like weeds among the 
standing corn, and who shall be destroyed by the Saviour at his 
second advent ; rather than to the final separation which shall take 
place at the end of the millennium : a day indeed is coming when 
a separation shall be made : not a single individual of Christ's 
true servants shall be forgotten by him, or shall perish with the 
ungodly, and none of the unconverted multitude, however 
covered their guilt may be, shall escape the sentence of condem- 
nation. Those who were associates in guilt and vice, shall be so 

* Zi^dviov does not occur in the Septuagint ; it is rendered by some eocHe or 
darnel, but appears ratber to be an inferior kind of wbeat ; which, Jerome says, 
can scarcely be distinguished from good wheat, until it is in full ear. — See Gres- 
well on the Parables. Vol. II. p. 71). 

+ " Do you dare to usurp the office of another, which will not be your's even 
in the harvest." — AiKjustine. 



70 .S. MATTHEW. [chap. xiii. 24—58. 

in suffering; a bundle of infidels, a bundle of scoffers, a bundle 
of hypocrites, and a large bundle of careless and indifferent 
professors, shall be as fuel for the flame, while the true followers 
of Jesus shall be " bound in the bundle of life" with him. 

Jesus next shows what great events spring from small begin- 
nings. This he illustrates by the growth of the mustard-seed, 
which, though very small, branches out into a large and fruitful 
tree ; or, by leaven, which though very small in quantity, dis- 
perses itself through the whole mass of flour in which it is placed. 
The instruction contained under these parables may be two-fold : 
our Lord either meant to show the rapid spread of Christianity 
over the world, though its beginning was small and unpromising : 
or, he meant to describe the moral influence of true religion, 
wherever it is propagated.* Like leaven it may be hidden from 
the sight, but it works deeply, and produces great effects on the 
individual character and the face of society. Let us here apply 
it to our own case, — to the growth of religion in our own hearts. 
Religion is a growing principle ; it springs from the seed of 
divine grace, and when this is sown in the heart of any person, 
it will take root within him — it will daily grow more strong and 
powerful, it will bring forth fruit in due time, and will be use- 
fully employed for others. Have you no room in your heart for 
this little seed — the grace of God ? Has it been sown ? Is it 
flourishing ? Ask for it without delay, and commit the growth 
of it to Christ, under whose care it will flourish. Again, religion 
is like leaven : but leaven will not work upon corn unground, nor 
does the Gospel, in souls unhumbled, unbroken for sin. The 
Spirit of God must break and soften the heart, and then the 
Gospel will leaven it ; i. e. religion will so work itself into the 
man, and disperse its principles within him, that his whole life 
and conversation will be tinctured by it ; religion will be manifest 
in every thing he says and does. Blessed and happy are those 
who are in such a state. 

Hitherto our Lord had compared the kingdom of God to small 
things, because its beginnings were small ; but lest any should 
thence take occasion to think meanly of it, he represents the 
great value of it by two parables. First, by " a treasure hid 
in a field," which was often done by those who had great 
riches in former times. | A man may be walking over a field 

* Greswell has ably shewn that the parable of the grain of mustard refers to 
the rapid progress of 'Christianity, as a proof its divine origin, — and that the 
parable of the leaven sets forth the moral influences of Christianity on the corrupt 
mass of mankind. — See his ' Exposition of the Parables,' Vol. II. 151 — 214. 
t See Jer. xli. 8, and Josephus. Wars, vii. 2. 



CHAP. XIII. 24— 58.] S.MATTHEW. 71 

every day for years, without suspecting that there is a mine of gold 
under his feet ; but when once he discovers it, he sells all he has 
to buy that field, and digs dihgently till he possesses the treasure. 
This treasure is Christ. The Bible is the field in which this 
treasure is hid : a man may read the Bible every day, and after 
all, know nothing of Christ, or, only by hearsay ; but when 
once he learns by God's teaching that there is a treasure in the 
Bible — when he wishes to enjoy Christ, to possess that spiritual 
treasure which is to be found in him ; he then counts all but 
loss that he may win him, parts with every thing for his sake, 
and searching deep into the Word of God, he finds a treasure 
there which he never knew before. The reason why so many 
slight the Bible is, because they only look at the surface of the 
field, they do not dig as for hidden treasure. Be persuaded 
that there are immense riches in the word of God ; pray that 
your eyes may be opened to see them ; you will then know that 
the religion of Christ is, what our Lord explains it to be, — a 
source of inestimable riches, which can never be lost or ex- 
hausted. 

Our Lord again enforces this subject by the parable of the 
merchant-man seeking for " goodly pearls," — not common ones, 
but such as are really valuable. It is said that pearls are found 
in clusters, but that one is more excellent than the rest, and 
that all fall into the hands of the man seeking for them, when 
the best is obtained.* Christ is our pearl of great price, — seek 
for him, and you will find him, and then all things else shall 
be yours. Oh ! do you not long for this treasure ? it is to be 
found in Christ, and Christ is to be found in the Bible. Say 
not that you are poor and unlearned, for these are simple truths ; 
say not that you are too much hurried in worldly matters to at- 
tend to them, fi)r your soul's salvation hangs upon your obtaining 
this treasure. If you pray earnestly, the Lord will open your 
eyes ; you will then see that Jesus is the pearl of great price ; 
you will come to him in faith, desiring his salvation, resting 
your souls upon him for acceptance with God, and resolving to 
be governed by him. You will then be richer than if you pos- 
sessed thousands of gold and silver ; and without this treasure, 
though you were the king on his throne, you would be poor and 
needy. 

After repeating these parables, our Lord said to the multitude, 
" Have ye understood all these things ? " The same question 

* See Origen's interesting description of pearls. Opera. Tom. III. pp. 449 — 
451, large folio. 



72 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xiv. 

may be put to you now : if you have, blessed are you if you follow 
them. If not, go to Christ in prayer, as the disciples did, and 
say, " Lord, declare unto us the parable ; " he will explain it 
to you as readily as he did to them. 

Note.— The nature of this work prevents any thing like a full exposition of each 
pavahle. The reader must seek it, when required, in such Commentaries as 
Calvin's exposition of " The Tares and the Wheat," Scott and Henry, Trench 
and Greswell. 



CHAP. XIV. 

WHY JOHN BAPTIST WAS BEHEADED MULTITUDES FED CHRIST WALKETH ON 

THE SEA TO HIS DISCIPLES. 

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus ; and said unto 
his servants, This is John the Baptist : he is risen from the dead ; and 
therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him. For Herod had 
laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' 
sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him. It is not lawful 
for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared 
the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod's 
birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and 
pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her what- 
soever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said. 
Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. And the king was sorry : 
nevertheless, for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he 
commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the 
prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel : 
and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took up the 
body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard of it, 
he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart : and when the people 
had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus 
went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion 
toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening his dis- 
ciples came to him, saying. This is a desert place, and the time is now 
past ; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy 
themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them. They need not depart ; 
give ye them to eat. And they say unto him. We have here but five loaves, 
and two fishes. He said. Bring them hither to me. And he commanded 
the multitude to sit down on the grass ; and took the five loaves and the 
two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake ; and gave the 
loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did 
all eat, and were filled : and they took up of the fragments that remained, 
twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand 
men, beside women and children. And straightway Jesus constrained his 
disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while 
he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, 
he went up into a mountain apart to pray : and when the evening was 
come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, 
tossed with waves : for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch 



CHAP. XIV.] S. MATTHEW. 73 

of the iiiglit Jesus went unto them, walkmg on the sea. And when the 
disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a 
spirit ; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto 
them, saying. Be of good cheer ; it is I ; he not afraid. And Peter an- 
swered him and said. Lord, if it he thou, bid me come unto thee on the 
water. And he said. Come. And when Peter was come down out of the 
ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind 
boisterous, he was afraid ; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying. Lord, save 
me ! And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, 
and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? 
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they 
that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou 
art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the 
land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of 
him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto 
him all that were diseased ; And besought him that they might only 
touch the hem of his garment : and as many as touched were made per- 
fectly whole. 

When Herod heard of the fame of Jesus, he was struck with 
apprehension that it was John the Baptist that had risen from 
the dead. His conscience told him he had offered an unjust vio- 
lence to an innocent person, and he was afraid that he had come 
again to be revenged on him. How severe are the terrors and 
tortures of a guilty conscience ! A wicked man needs no worse 
tormentor than his own mind. Let us observe, that the cause 
of the Baptist's being put to death, was his boldly telling a king 
of his crime : it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. 
Herod divorced his real wife, to marry Herodias the wife of his 
brother Philip, and for this sin John faithfully rebuked this 
wicked prince. The Baptist was therefore cast into prison, and 
fell a victim to the revenge of an adulterous woman.* The 
servants of God should have both courage and impartiality: 
courage, to fear no man ; impartiality, in sparing no sins, how 
high soever the situation of the person committing them may 
be ; for our Saviour says to us, " Fear not them which kill the 
body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him 
who is able to destroy both soul and body in helL" 

We find the king was sorry to put John to death : wicked 
men often sin with a troubled and disturbed conscience. They 
have a mighty struggle with themselves before they commit their 
sins : but at last the voice of conscience is drowned by their 
wicked desires. So it was with Herod : notwithstanding his 
sorrow, he sent, and beheaded John, and we are told that he 



* See a full description of this Ilerod, called Antipas, by Josephus. Antiq. 
lib. xviii. c. 7. 



74 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xiv. 

did so, first, for his oath's sake. Observe his hypocrisy ; he 
made conscience of a rash oath, though he did not scruple to 
commit murder. Another reason for this horrid act was, regard 
to his reputation ; they that sat with him, heard his promise, 
and would be witnesses against him if he did not perform it ; 
thus he " loved the praise of man more than the praise of God." 
The wicked woman not only required John to be beheaded, but 
that his head should be brought in a charger, or dish, to them. 
Herodias did not think herself safe until John was dead, and she 
could not believe he was dead, until his head was brought to her ! 
How cruel was the heart that could take pleasure in such a sight ! 

So astonished were the people at the wonderful works of our 
Saviour, that they followed him even into the deserts. The 
disciples, in pity to them, because they had fasted all day, re- 
quested our Saviour to send them away, that they might buy 
food ; but he answers, " They need not depart, give ye them to 
eat." The disciples had nothing for themselves ; how then could 
they feed a multitude ? Divine power could alone enable them ; 
and let us learn from this, that when Christ requires of us what, 
of ourselves, we are unable to perform, it is to show us our 
weakness, and to make us look to him and pray to him, from 
whom, alone, we can obtain power to obey his commandments. 
By our Saviour's blessing before he distributed the bread, we are 
taught to ask God for his blessing on his own gifts, and not to sit 
down to our food, as beasts to their forage ; and by our Saviour's 
command to take up the fragments that nothing may be lost, we 
see that waste of any thing will be regarded by him as sinful.* 

After this our Lord sent his disciples away, whilst he dismissed 
the multitude, and then retired into a mountain to pray, teaching 
us, that even he, the Christ, thought prayer a necessary duty. 
While thus engaged in happy communion with his Father, the 
disciples were in a ship, when there came on a violent storm, 
which seemed to endanger their lives ; but Christ saw their dis- 
tress, and went to them, walking on the sea ; upon which his 
disciples, thinking it had been a spirit, cried out for fear ; but 
when they heard the joyful sound, " It is I," their fears sub- 
sided ; one word from Christ revives them, and restores them 
to peace. Peter asked permission to go to him on the sea, and 
having received it, he made the attempt : his faith gave him 
power to step on the waters, but it was distrust which made him 
sink : while he looked to Jesus, the sea remained firm under 

* Prov. xviii. 9. 



CHAP. XV. 1—20.] S. MATTHEW. 75 

his feet, but the moment he wavered and thought of himself, it 
yielded beneath him. If we would walk upon the waves of 
this troublesome world, we should not let the sense of our own 
weakness make us doubt the power of Christ, — we should follow 
his command by relying on his assistance, and keeping the eye 
of faith continually on him : according as we doubt, we shall 
sink. But take notice, the compassionate Saviour laid hold on 
Peter, and Peter laid fast hold on him. If we let go our depen- 
dance on Christ, we sink ; if he leaves us, we perish ; but no 
sooner do we seek his mercy, than we find it, for " the Lord is 
nigh unto all that call upon him faithfully." Christ justly re- 
buked Peter : " O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou 
doubt ? " but he did not let him sink. Immediately on his 
going into the ship, the wind ceased, and they worshipped him, 
and glorified him as the true Son of God. It is he alone who 
can calm the storm, and still the raging of the sea; it is he 
alone who can pour upon the heart, agitated by the afflictions 
of life, that peace of God which passeth all understanding, and 
give resignation and submission to his will. 



CHAP. XV. 1—20. 



ON HUMAN TRADITIONS WHAT DEFILETH A MAN. 

Then came to Jesus Scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders ? for they wash 
not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto 
them. Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradi- 
tion 1 For God commanded saying. Honour thy father and mother : and, 
He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say. 
Whosoever shall say to his father or Ms mother. It is a gift, by whatsoever 
thou mightest be profited by me ; And honour not his father or his mother, 
he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none 
effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites ! well did Esaias prophecy of you, 
saying, This people dravveth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth 
me with their lips ; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do 
worship me, teaching /or doctrines the commandments of men. And he 
called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand : Not that 
which goeth into the mouth defileth a man ; but that which cometh out of 
the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto 
him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this 
saying ? But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father 
hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone : they be blind 
leaders of the bhud. And if the bhnd lead the blind, both shall fall into 
the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him. Declare unto us this 
parable. And Jesus said. Are ye also yet without understanding ? Do 
not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into 



76 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xv. 1—20. 

the belly, and is cast out into the draught ? But those things which pro- 
ceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart ; and they defile the man. 
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, 
thefts, false witness, blasphemies : These are the things which defile a man : 
but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. 

We find, in the first part of what has just been read, a contest 
between our Saviour and the Scribes and Pharisees, concerning 
old traditions and customs, which they attended to, much more 
than to the commandments of God. They complained that his 
disciples ate without washing their hands, not because cleanli- 
ness was so desirable, but because washing before meat was re- 
garded by them as a religious duty : and this, they say, was 
handed down from Moses by oral tradition, though not given in 
the written law. These traditions the Pharisees either placed 
on a level with the scriptures, or used them in opposition to the 
plain commands of God.* Tradition is only useful as a witness 
to the truth of God given us in holy Scripture. It may shew 
what books were received by the early church, as inspired, and 
what doctrines and practices were followed by the primitive 
Church — but if traditions are ever made a part of the rule of 
faith, as the Jews and the Church of Rome have made them, 
they become a source of great error — they form a convenient 
way of introducing novelties and of setting aside the pure 
doctrines of God. Thus our Lord accuses the Pharisees of 
grievous error from exalting their traditions to a wrong position, 
and he gives an instance of their violating one of God's com- 
mandments from' this very cause. The law of God requireth 
children to honour their parents : now, the Jewish Church in- 
vented a tradition ; (which the Pharisees taught,) that if any one 
presented a gift to the temple, he should be absolved from pro- 
viding for his poor helpless parents, and might take praise to 
himself for giving to the priests, or to the temple, that which 
should have gone to his parents' relief. This tradition our Lord 
severely censured, because the observance of it made it necessary 
for the Jews to break the law of God, and in every case we are 
to " obey God rather than man." 

The Jews were not only strict in following these traditions, 
but were scrupulous in observing all the rights and ceremonies 
of their law, erroneously conceiving, that mere outward cere- 

* Thus the Talmud, *' The words of the scribes are lovely beyond the words 
of the law, for the words of the law are weighty and light, but tlie Avords of the 
scribes are " all weighty." Hieros. Berac. fol. o. Such is the effect of admitting 
tradition ; it is soon put above the written word. 



CHAP. XV. 1—20.] S. MATTHEW. 77 

mony would be accepted by God, without inward holiness ; 
here, however, they greatly erred ; God looks to the heart, and 
unless our religion be that of the heart, we may be strict ob- 
servers of every outward ordinance, and yet, after all, be cast 
away. 

After the Saviour thus rebuked the Pharisees, he turned to 
the multitude, and exposed (by the famihar metaphor of eating) 
the source of all spiritual pollution. It is not what we eat and 
drink that defiles us ; not the eating one kind of food, and ab- 
staining from another ; but it is the filthiness and impurity of our 
hearts by nature, that produces every species of wickedness. 
The Pharisees were much offended by finding their false tenets 
and doctrines detected and published, but our Lord was not to 
be intimidated by the wrath of man, from openly avowing his 
disapprobation of all false teachers, who are always inclined to 
leave the divine word for the doctrines and opinions of men. 
Such a plantation is not of God ; the trees of the Lord are those 
which bear the fruits of righteousness from the root of truth ; 
all others are planted by Satan, and though they may appear to 
prosper for a time, they shall be finally rooted out by the great 
husbandman. How many in our day, as in our Lord's time 
may be called " blind leaders of the Wind," — they lead the 
ignorant and unstable from Christ, instead of guiding them to 
the narrow way, and hence the awful consequence so often 
follows — " both fall into the ditch" and perish together. 

The disciples, not understanding Christ's metaphor, asked him, 
when alone, what the parable meant. He wondered, and re- 
proved them for not comprehending what was so very obvious — 
that it is out of the sinful and corrupt heart that all unrighteous- 
ness proceeds ; the temptations and occasions of sin are from 
without, but the original fountain from whence it flows is from 
the heart within, which throws up the depravity and filth it 
generates and conceives ; * it is this that causes the defilement 
of man ; but the neglect of outward ceremonies (the production 
of human invention) cannot in the least injure him. Seeing 
then how deceitful and wicked the heart of man is, may the Lord 
look upon us, and by the power of his grace "create in us a 
clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us." 

* See Gen. vi. 6. and viii. 21. 



78 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xv. 21—89, 



CHAP. XV. 21—39. 

CHRIST HEALETH THE DAUGHTER OF THE WOMAN OF CANAAN A GREAT 

MULTITUDE FED IN A MIRACULOUS MANNER. 

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried 
unto him, saying. Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David ! my 
daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. 
And his disciples came and besought him, saying. Send her away ; for she 
crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying. 
Lord, help me ! But he answered and said. It is not meet to take the chil- 
dren's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said. Truth, Lord : yet the 
dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus 
answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee 

. even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. 
And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee ; 
and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes 
came vinto him, ha%dng with them those that were lame, bhnd, dumb, 
maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet ; and he 
healed them : Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the 
dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind 
to see : and they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disci- 
ples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they 
continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat : and I will not 
send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say 
unto him, "Wlience should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to 
fill so great a multitude ? And Jesus saith unto them. How many loaves 
have ye ? And they said. Seven, and a few little fishes. And he com- 
manded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven 
loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his 
disciples, and the disciples to the mvdtitude. And they did all eat, and 
were filled : and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets 
full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and 
children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into 
the coasts of Magdala. 

Our blessed Saviour, ever anxious to extend his glorious Gos- 
pel, went into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, cities which belonged 
to the Gentile territory and not to the Jews — to whom was his 
ordinary mission. These examples of Gentile converts were 
a first fruit of that multitude who should be gathered out of all 
nations, as the Church of Christ ; they ought to remind us of 
the great mercy we have found in the eyes of God, in that he 
hath " to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." * A 

* Acts xi. 18. 



CHAP. XV. 21—30.] S. MATTHEW. 79 

Canaanitish woman came out to meet him and urgently entreated 
his mercy for her daughter, who was grievously vexed with the 
devil ; she called him her " Lord," and " the son of David," 
thereby acknowledging both his divine and human nature. At 
first He returned no answer to her importunities, to show that 
He sometimes thinks it better for us not to answer our prayers at 
once ; and, when urged by his disciples to send her away, he 
rather repulsed her, showing that he often wishes to try our faith, 
by the continuance of affliction. He told her, that his first 
mission from heaven was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, 
and not to strangers ; but still she was earnest in her entreaties ; 
she cried to him for help, and worshipped him, but He repulsed 
her again with apparent severity, " It is not meet to take the 
children's bread, and to cast it to dogs," thus calling the Jews 
" children " — but giving her and all the Gentiles the name of 
" dogs." Her answer was remarkable, " Truth, Lord, yet the 
dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table " — as 
if she had said, ' I know that I am a dog, because a Gentile 
sinner. I am content to be so called, my nature is defiled, my 
outward estate far from the privileges of the children, the Jews ; 
yet though a dog, I am not a st?'anger, for I may creep under the 
table of mercy and partake of the morsel left for the dogs who 
are allowed to remain near the master.' * What faith and hu- 
mility was this ! her view of herself was abasing — her faith in 
Christ's power and love was exalted. She agrees to the Lord's 
plan, without murmuring — that the bread must not be given to 
the Gentiles, till he had tried every means for the conversion 
and salvation of his ancient people. But so anxious was she to 
gain her object, and so sensible of the Saviour's power, that she 
meekly submitted to the humiliating name he gave her, and 
only supplicated for the crumbs of mercy that might fall from 
him. 

Let us now inquire whether we are as anxious for the salva- 
tion of our souls, as this poor woman was for the recovery of her 
daughter. Do we, like her, cry to Jesus, saying, " O Lord, 
thou son of David, have mercy on us ? " Are we content with 
the daily repetition of some form of prayer in which our hearts 
are not engaged, and no sooner rise from our knees than we 
forget what we asked for, and seem careless whether we receive 
our request or not ? And do we call this prayer ? Alas ? it is 
no such thing. Let us take this woman for our example ; let us 

* See Chrysostoin's striking Homily on Matt. xv. Horn. liii. Vol. vii. 



80 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xvi. 1—20. 

copy her earnestness and perseverance ; let us ask of God to 
give us willing minds to desire spiritual blessings — " that good 
part which shall not be taken " from us ; and though the Saviour 
may appear to disregard us for a while, yet will it be but for the 
trial and strengthening of our faith, and after patient persever- 
ance, we shall hear him say, "be it unto thee even as thou wilt." 
There is some diiference between the miracle of the loaves 
and fishes here recorded, and that previously mentioned in chap, 
xiv. In the latter, the disciples made the request that the wants 
of the multitude should be attended to. In this, they seemed 
to suffer hunger willingly for nearly three days, whilst listening 
to our Lord's heavenly words ; and he then proposes to feed 
them by a miracle. Twelve baskets of fragments were taken 
up in the former case, and only seven here — though the num- 
ber fed was less. All our supplies are dealt out in the Lord's 
measure — whether less or more, it is just what should be. May 
we live by faith on the inexhaustible fulness of Christ. 

Note. — v. 37. It may be remarked, that ffirvpiSas means large baskets, such as are 
used for storing provisions. Whereas Kocplvovs (eh. xiv. 20.) signifies travelling 
baskets. 



CHAP. XVI. 1—20. 



THE JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES PETER S 

CONFESSION. 

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting, desired him that 
he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto 
them, When it is evening, 'ye say. It will be fair weather; for the sky is 
red : And in the morning. It will be foul weather to-day ; for the sky is red 
and lowring. O ye hypocrites ! ye can discern the face of the sky ; but can 
ye not discern the signs of the times ? A wicked and adulterous generation 
seeketh after a sign ; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign 
of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. And when his 
disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 
Then Jesus said unto them. Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the 
Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, 
saying. It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, 
he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, 
because ye have brought no bread ? Do ye not yet understand, neither 
remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye 
took up ? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many 
baskets ye took up ? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it 
not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the 
Pharisees and of the Sadducees ? Then understood they how that he bade 
them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees 
and of the Sadducees ? When Jesus came into the coasts of Csesarea 



lAP. XVI. 1—20.] S. MATTHEW. 81 

Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son 
of man am ? And they said. Some say that thou art John the Baptist ; 
some Ehas ; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto 
them. But whom say ye that I am 1 And Simon Peter answered and said. 
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the hving God. And Jesus answered and 
said unto him. Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona : for flesh and blood hath 
not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say 
also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my 
church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give 
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt 
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt loose on 
earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they 
should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 



In the first part of this chapter it is related that the Pharisees 
and Sadducees, though of quite contrary sects and opinions, 
united in tempting and opposing Christ ; and not satisfied with 
the many earthly signs he had shown of his divine nature, in 
multiplying the loaves, and healing the sick and maimed, they 
required a sign from heaven. But our Saviour, knowing that 
the demand was made more to gratify their curiosity, than to 
work their conversion, rejected it with severity, and told them, 
that they who could with such accuracy form a judgment of the 
future weather, from the aspect of the sky, could as easily (were 
they not blinded by obstinacy and hardness of heart) discern 
from prophecy, and from the wonderful miracles he had wrought, 
that the time of the Messiah was come, and that He was the 
Messiah ; but they were a wicked generation, seeking after 
■signs of their own choosing, and rejecting those that were given 
them ; therefore they should have no sign except that of the 
Prophet Jonas, which was an exact type of his rising from the 
dead after three days : on this he left them and departed. How 
dreadful ! What should be our state if Christ were to leave us ? 
It would be the same — yea, far worse than if the sun were 
blotted from the heavens, and darkness to succeed. If you have 
not yet come to Christ, you are in this state of darkness, for it is 
all the same whether he leave us, or we keep ourselves from 
him. 

We see after all our Lord's teaching how dull his disciples 
still remained ; they put a carnal sense upon his words, and 
understood that he desired them to beware of the leaven of 
bread ; but Christ undeceived them, and reproved them for their 
want of faith, in supposing that he who had twice abundantly fed 
so many thousands on a few loaves, could not with ease provide 
thfem with bodily sustenance, and then told them to beware of 

VOL. I. G 



82 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xvi. 1—20. 

the false doctrine of the Pharisees, which, like leaven, diifused 
itself among persons, unhappily predisposed to receive erroneous 
doctrines. But are we really surprised at the want of faith in 
the disciples on this occasion ? let us turn our eyes within, and 
ask ourselves, whether the many miracles we have heard of in 
the course of this Gospel, have convinced us of the power of 
Jesus, and brought us to faith in him ? Alas ! if Christ were 
present, he would say to many of us, " How is it that you do not 
understand ? " " Why do you not believe ? " 

When Jesus asked his disciples " Whom do men say that I, the 
Son of man, am ? " they answered, that there was a diversity of 
opinions with regard to him ; some saying he was John, others 
Elias, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Jesus then asked 
them, " but whom say ye that I am ? " Peter, in the name of 
them all, says, " thou art the Christ, the Son of the living 
God ; " a confession so full and decisive, that our Lord declared 
that it was not taught to him by man, but by the revelation of 
God. And then he adds the promise, " Thou art Peter, and 
upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it. " The rock on which the church 
was built is not Peter, but his confession of faith, or which is 
the same thing, Christ himself, as if the Lord had said, ' Thou 
art Peter, and upon this rock which thou hast confessed ; on 
this rock, which thou hast acknowledged, saying. Thou art 
Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my church, that 
is, I will build my church upon myself, and not myself upon 
you.' * This gives no supremacy to Peter, but only the honour 
of being called a rock or stone after his master, whom he so 
promptly confessed. 

Our Lord also promised to give to Peter " the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven." The proper use of keys, is to admit 
and let out, and so Peter was first sent to admit the Jews,t and 
then the Gentiles, J into the gospel kingdom. And thus he had 
the power of binding and loosing committed to him, that is, of 
admitting those who should be admitted, and of excluding, by 
apostoHc censure, those whose sins called for excommunication. 
This power was afterwards given to all the rest of the apostles,§ 
and therefore Peter had no supremacy over them, much less has 

* Augustine's Works, vol. v. p. 415. See also Chrysostom, Horn. Iv. in Mat. 
The same view was taken by Hilary de Trinitate, 6. — Theodoret, Epist. 77 ; and 
even by Gregory the Great. Epis. lii. 33. Among moderns see Beza's note and 
Lightfoot's conclusive observations on the text. 

t Acts ii. 41. t Actsx. 45—48. § Matt, xviii. 1'8. 



CHAP. XVI. 21—28.] S. MATTHEW. 83 

the pope, who cannot be Peter's successor, for he is not an 
apostle, nor is he inspired. Bishops and pastors have indeed so 
far the power of binding and loosing, because by sacraments, 
preaching, and church censures, they admit or exclude from the 
visible church. 

Suppose now that Christ were present at this time and place, 
to ask us, as he did the disciples, " whom say ye that I am ? " 
what should we say to him ? Have we the answer ready, and 
could we say, as Peter did, from the heart, " Thou art the 
Christ, the Son of God," through whom alone we have forgive- 
ness of sins, peace of mind and conscience, and the hope of ever- 
lasting hfe ? Blessed, indeed, is that soul, to whom Christ, the 
Son of the living God, is thus revealed ; flesh and blood 
never revealed this to any man. We may, by instruction and 
inquiry, be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, but a saving 
knowledge of Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit. 



CHAP. XVI. 21—28. 

JESUS FORESHEWETH HIS DEATH REPROVETH PETER FOR DISSUADING 

HIM FROM IT. WE MUST BEAR THE CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM.^ 

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he 
must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief 
priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then 
Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying. Be it far from thee. Lord : 
this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter^ Get thee 
behind me, Satan : thou art an offence unto me : for thou savourest not the 
things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto 
his cUsciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross and follow me. For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it : 
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a 
man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or 
what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? For the Son of man shall 
come in the glory of his Father with his angels ; and then he shall reward 
every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you. There be some 
standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man 
coming in his kingdom. 

We now enter on the second part of the gospel history, written 
by St. Matthew, and the disciples were now called to a deeper 
course of instruction. Our Lord had thus far aimed at shewing 
them that he w^as the Christ of God, the true Messiah promised 
in the Old Testament Scriptures. Now he begins to dwell on 
the awful subject of his rejection by men and his propitiatory 
sufferings for the sin of the whole world. 



84 S. MATTHEW. [c hap. .\vi. -lA—Hl. 

We may perceive from this portion of om- Lord's communi- 
cations, how ignorant the disciples were in the mysteries of the 
kingdom of God, for Peter, on hearing of Christ's sufferings, 
took him aside and began even to rebuke him, as if the Lord 
had said something wrong. He besought our Lord to spare 
himself, and seemed to hope that the Father would keep him 
from such an hour.* He was impelled to make this request, 
partly from a false zeal and ignorant love, which would save his 
master from the wrath of the elders and chief priests, and partly 
from the hope of his still attaining temporal power : he still 
fondly trusted that Christ should gain earthly dominions ; his 
heart was still bound to the things of this world ; but our blessed 
Saviour turned upon him, and severely rebuked him for this 
worldly spirit, saying, " Get thee behind me, Satan, (or adver- 
sary,) thou art an offence unto me." Evil suggestions in the mind 
come from Satan, and hence the man who allows himself to be 
the organ of Satan, or to be guided by him, may properly be 
called by his name. 

This conduct of Peter was the cause of our Saviour's telling 
his disciples how necessary it was to relinquish all earthly advan- 
tages when they became his followers. To take up the cross 
and follow Christ with decision, with self-denial, with unabated 
zeal, is no easy matter. We might easily bear about us the 
emblem of the crucifixion, and remain as far from God as ever; 
but to plant the cross in the heart, to mortify the uprisings of 
the flesh, to deny the cravings of our fallen nature, to resist the 
enticements of Satan and the world, in all their varied shape, 
this is truly difficult, and needs a strength more than human. 
The duty is ours, but the strength is from God. "If ye through 
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." One 
great help to this duty is here given by our Lord, viz. to weigh 
the value of the soul with the things of this world. Let us place 
them both in the balance of the sanctuary. The world will be 
found, in all its weight put together, transitory, unsatisfying and 
polluted. The soul, immortal and suited for converse with God 
himself. Shall we hesitate in our choice ? Alas ! how apt are 
we to endeavour to reconcile the service of God and of the 
world, not considering how awful are the denunciations pro- 
nounced in Scripture upon those who do not leave all earthly 
objects, if necessary, for Christ's sake. He is worthy of all the 

"' So the words, in verse 22, 1\eus aoi imply, which are rendered in our version, 
" Be it far from tliee," hut with the ellipsis s'upplied it would be, " may God he 
propitious to thee, and si)are thee.'' 



CHAP. XVII. 1—13.] S. MATTHEW. 85 

sacrifices we can make ; to neglect our souls is to neglect Christ ; 
the winning of the world is often the losing of the soul, and he 
that loses his soul, though it be to gain the world, makes a bad 
bargain, and will sit down at last an unspeakable loser. 



CHAP. XVII. 1—13. 



THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST. THE COMING OF ELIAS. 

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and 
bringeth them up into an high mountain apart. And was transfigured be- 
fore them : and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white 
as the hght. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and EUas 
talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is 
good for us to be here : if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles ; 
one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. "While he yet spake, 
behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them : and behold a voice out of the 
cloud, which said. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; 
hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and 
were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said. Arise, and 
be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, 
save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus 
charged them, saying. Tell the \-ision to no man, until the Son of man be 
risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying. Why then 
say the scribes that EUas must first come ? And Jesus answered and said 
unto them, EUas truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say 
unto you. That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done 
unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer 
of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto th6m of John 
the Baptist. 

We have here an account of our Lord's transfiguration. He had 
said, in the last verse of the chapter preceding, that there were 
some present who should not taste of death till they had seen the 
Son of Man coming in his kingdom ; and now were his words 
fulfilled, for the three apostles, Peter, James, and John, were 
favoured with a sight of the Redeemer in that glorious appear- 
ance which he shall have when he comes in his kingdom.* 

The object of our Lord's transfiguration seems to have been 
twofold. First, to give a sensible demonstration to the disciples 
of his being the Christ. It was a convincing proof of his God- 
head, when the divine nature broke through the outward cover- 
ing of his flesh ; and St. Peter afterwards referred to it as such, 
when he said, " We have not followed cunningly-devised fables 

* '' The transfiguration was nothing else but an announcement of the second 
coming of Christ ; in which Christ and his saints shall shine." — Theoi^hylact. 



86 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xvii. 1—13. 

when we made known unto you the power and coming of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.'' * 
Secondly, to give a specimen of that glorious body which each 
of his believing people shall have hereafter, according as St. Paul 
says, " Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body." f On this occasion, Moses and 
Elias appeared with him ; Moses, representing the law — EHas, 
the prophets ; whilst the Apostles that were with him on the 
holy mount, shadowed forth the Gospel dispensation, intimating 
that the law, the prophets, and the Gospel, all centred in Jesus, 
and testified of him. 

At this solemn season, the Father's voice was heard from " the 
excellent glory," acknowledging in the same words as at his bap- 
tism, that Jesus was his beloved Son, in whose person, character, 
righteousness, and mediation, he was well pleased, and fully 
satisfied. What consolation is this truth calculated to afford ! 
Man has sinned beyond the power of his own recovery, and can 
effect nothing in the way of his justification before God ; but 
" help is laid upon one that is mighty " — Jesus has undertaken 
the office of Mediator, and God has expressed satisfaction with 
his atonement. Guilty, rebellious man, who longs for pardon 
and deliverance, may now rejoice, for God has found a ransom. 
But observe, those who profit by Christ, must " hear him " — hear 
what he declares in his written word, and not only hear, but 
follow it. 

On seeing this glorious sight on the mount, Peter conceived 
that he was almost in heaven, and exclaimed, " Lord ! it is good 
for us to be here," and then proposed to erect three tabernacles, 
or temporary huts, for Jesus, Moses, and Ehas. But Peter 
spoke ignorantly : Christ had not yet finished the chief business 
for which he had come into the world, and if he had not come 
down from the mount as Peter wished, we should all have pe- 
rished, for the atonement could not have been completed. 
Peter had just before been hearing of great trials to be endured, 
and now that he was so happy on the mount, he hoped, like 
many, to reach the crown, without the cross or like others, to 
enjoy a heaven upon earth. With all this ignorance, there is 
something striking in his words, " Lord, it is good for us to be 
here." Doubtless he felt it a solemn moment of communion, 
and, perhaps, hoped he had done with this world of sin and pol- 
lution. Every view of Christ's glory ought to be precious to us. 

* 2 Peter i. 16. t Phil. iii. 21. 



CHAP. XVII. 14—27.] S. MATTHEW. 87 

It is very good to be, where Christ is wont to meet and refresh 
us with his presence. 

But Peter had many trials to endure before he reached the 
crown. " The tabernacle of God " is not yet with men, in the 
sense of triumph and glory. Even the Christian, who is the 
happiest person on earth, finds that there is some bitterness in all 
earthly sweets, and therefore he longs for that place where plea- 
sure shall be pure and unmixed. Instead of building a resting- 
place for himself here, he lives as a stranger and a pilgrim upon 
earth, "looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder 
and maker is God." 

But, though the disciples had so decisive a testimony that 
Jesus was God, both by his transfiguration, and by the voice 
from heaven, yet still they doubted. The Scribes said, and the 
Jews universally believed, that Elias was to come before the 
Messiah, and they thought he had not yet appeared. But our 
Lord explained the passage in the prophet Malachi,* by show- 
ing that it was fulfilled (at least partially) in John the Baptist, 
who came in the power and spirit of that Prophet. Like Elijah, 
he rebuked the sins of the people w4th great decision, and turned 
the hearts of the fathers to the children, in bringing both to re- 
pentance, and to a state of preparation for the Messiah. There is 
indeed a great day of the Lord coming, and the servants of God, 
in the spirit of Elijah, are preparing a people for the Lord. May 
we listen to the testimony, — " Behold he cometh," and welcome 
that day as the period of everlasting triumph. 



CHAP. XVIL 14-27 



CHRIST HEALETH THE LUNATIC, AND PAYETH TRIBUTE. 

Aud when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, 
kneehng down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son : for he is 
lunatic, and sore vexed : for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into 
the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure 
him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, 
how long shall I be with you ? how long shall I suffer you ? bring him 
hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil ; and he departed out of him: 
and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to 
Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out ? And Jesus said 
unto them. Because of your unbelief : for verily I say unto you. If ye have 
faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain. Remove 
hence to yonder place ; and it shall remove : and nothing shall be im- 

■ ,- 

* Chap. iv. 5. 



88 S.MATTHEW. [chap. xvii. 14— 27. 

possible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out by prayer and fasting. 
And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man 
shall be betrayed into the hands of men : And they shall kill him, and the 
third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry. And 
when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came 
to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute ? He saith, Yes. 
And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying. 
What thinkest thou, Simon ? of whom do the kings of the earth take cus- 
tom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers 1 Peter saith unto 
him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him. Then are the children free. 
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast 
an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up ; and when thou, hast 
opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money : that take, and give 
unto them for me and thee. 

No sooner had our Lord come down from the mount, than a 
pitiable object of distress presented itself to him — a man with a 
lunatic son — sorely vexed. The disciples had endeavoured to 
relieve him, but failed ; upon which he came to Jesus — was re- 
ceived, and immediately cured. Observe the character of our 
blessed Lord, who, though just come down from a state of glory 
on the mount, was ready to receive the meanest and poorest who 
came to him ; and contrast his power and love with the weakness 
and impotency even of his true disciples ; they v/ere still encom- 
passed with unbelief, and, therefore, though he had given them 
power to cast out devils, they did not exercise faith in Christ's 
power, and the poor sufferer was left in all his misery. Let us 
pray for a real faith, which can overcome all difficulties, and re- 
move mountains of sin and evil. 

You may also see in those workings of distress which appeared 
in the father of this afflicted child when he came to Jesus, what 
your feelings would be if you felt for your soul as you ought, and 
knew that Jesus could heal you. You would, hke this man, fall 
on your knees before him — you would cry, "Lord ! have mercy" — 
you would tell him of your grief, and make particular mention 
of your own plague. Are your prayers cold and formal — not 
breathed from the heart — not forced from you by your own in- 
ward sense of want — not prayed, but repeated ? Alas ! you are 
a stranger to real prayer, and as Christ's people are a praying 
people, it is evident you are not one of them. Be in earnest 
about your soul — ask of the Lord Jesus to give you the spirit of 
prayer. If you have faith, you may say to the greatest obstacle 
before you, " remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, 
and nothing shall be impossible unto you." 

It was commanded by God in J;he Book of Exodus,* that 

* Exod. XXX. 14, 1.). 



I 



CHAP. XVIII. 1— U] S. MATTHEW. 89 

every man above the age of twenty years should pay a small 
tribute of about fifteen pence, for the use of the temple. The 
collectors of this tribute asked Peter whether his master would 
not pay it, and he hastily rephed that he would : however Jesus 
corrected him, and in order to show his exemption from this 
tax, he appealed to the custom of the kings of the earth, which 
is, to take tribute from strangers or subjects, but not from their 
own children. Christ applied this to himself—" then," says he, 
" are the children free." It was God who imposed this tax for 
the use of the temple — his house. But Christ, being the Son 
OF God, and heir of all things, was therefore not obliged to 
pay this tribute. Nevertheless he yielded his right, lest his 
refusal might prejudice the people against his doctrine. For, 
though he was the Son of God — the king of heaven, yet he 
did not so appear to the Jev/s, and they might have thought 
that he M^as a teacher of rebeUion. What a lesson this to 
his professed followers, not to give any ground of offence even 
from their conduct as citizens. With such an example before 
men, how can any refuse, with a clear conscience, to pay such 
taxes as church-rates. They are bound to give " tribute to whom 
tribute is due," without deciding, whether the tax is wisely ap- 
pointed or not. But, behold our Lord's poverty : He who sup- 
plied the wants of others, had not sufficient to meet this occasion 
without performing a miracle. He directed Peter to cast a hook 
into the sea, and told him that in the mouth of the first fish 
which came up, he should find a piece of money sufficient for 
them both. Whether his omnipotence put the money there, or 
his omniscience knew it was there, it equally proved him to be 
the Almighty God. 

Note on v, 24. — Trench has satisfactorily shewn that the tribute (StSpoxjua) was 
claimed in behalf of the temple, and not of the Roman Emperor ; and as such 
Christ claimed exemption, although he did not use it. — See his notes on the 
Miracles, p. 369. 



CHAP. XVm. 1—14. 

CHRIST WARNETH HIS DISCIPLES TO BE HUMBLE AND HARMLESS TO AVOID 

OFFENCES, AND NOT TO DESPISE THE LITTLE ONES. 

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest 
in the kingdom of heaven ? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and 
sat him in the midst of them, And said. Verily I say unto you. Except ye 
be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this 



90 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xviii. 1—14. 

little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso 
shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But whoso 
shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for 
him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and thathe were drowned 
in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences ! for it 
must needs be that offences come ; but woe to that man by whom the 
offence cometh ! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them 
off, and cast them from thee : it is better for thee to enter into life halt or 
maimed, rather than have two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting 
fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee : it 
is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than have two eyes 
to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little 
ones ; for I say unto you. That in heaven their angels do always behold the 
face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to 
save that which was lost. How think ye ? if a man have an hundred sheep, 
and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, 
and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray } 
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of 
that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it 
is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little 
ones should perish. 

It appears from the other Evangehsts, that the disciples first 
disputed among themselves, " who should be the greatest,"* and 
then, according to St. Matthew, brought the question to our 
Lord ; and so anxious were they about an exalted place in the 
temporal kingdom, which they thought our Lord was about to 
estabhsh, that they disputed once more on this question at the last 
supper.f Pride and ambition still clung to them, and Christ, 
ever full of love and kindness, and anxious to remove these evil 
dispositions, preached the doctrine of humiliation, by setting a 
child in the midst of them, and telhng them, that except they 
were converted, and J)ecame as little children, they could not 
enter the kingdom of heaven. From this we learn what sort of 
persons they are, for whom Christ expressed such a tender 
regard : they are those whom he calls " little ones" such as are 
little in their own eyes — have most of the humility of children, 
and like them, receive what they are taught with undisputing 
simplicity. t " Take heed," he says, " that ye offend not one 
of these little ones ; " beware how you say or do any thing which 
may stop their progress in religion. None will do so, who are 
in that way themselves ; but alas ! the world abounds with 
nominal professors, who, by their sins and inconsistencies, bring 
disgrace on Christ's cause, and make those to stumble who are 
setting out in the Christian race — and even the world itself is 

* Mark ix. -33. Luke i\. iC. t Luke xxii. 2-1. .1. J Cor. xiv. 20. 



CHAP. XVIII. 1—14.] S. MATTHEW. 91 

often stumbled by the sins of the outward disciples — they take 
occasion thereby to excuse their own iniquities, and to go on in 
their rebelHon — hence there is a double woe — to those who 
excuse their iniquities from the inconsistencies of professors — 
and to those who throw obstacles in the way of men's turning* to 
God. No passage in holy Scripture proves more clearly the 
excellency of the grace of humility — it is real greatness, Avhen 
we are debased in our own eyes, and glory only in the Lord. 

So far from our Lord selecting anychief orhead among his apos- 
tles, "he pulleth down all their swelling arrogancy and teacheth, 
that the dignity of primacy is nothing to be desired, but that 
men ought to be willing to place themselves in the lowest rank : 
nothing is worse than pride, for it maketh men fools and mad."* 
One of the surest ways to avoid being an offence or stumbling- 
block to others, is to walk humbly with our God. We are then 
kept dependent on him for strength, and we are willing to min- 
ister to the lowest of Christ's members. 

To despise the little ones of Christ's fold, or weak believers, is 
an offence against the Lord himself — let us therefore remember 
that their angels do always behold the face of God ; they are 
under the special protection of the Most High, who employs his 
angels to minister to their wants,! and if you try to impede their 
progress, you are fighting against God, and it were better for 
you that a millstone were hanged about your neck, and that you 
w^ere cast into the sea, than that you should continue to oppose 
the work of God. You are included when our Lord says, 
" except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall 
not enter the kingdom of heaven." You must get a new heart, 
and a right spirit, and you will then be ranked among Christ's 
" little ones ;" who have no will or wisdom of their own, but give 
themselves up entirely to be taught and guided by their Saviour, 
as children w^ho have every thing to learn, and are incapable of 
choosing for themselves. 

You may think this doctrine bears too hard upon flesh and 
blood ; but He, who knows that if we were left to ourselves, we 
should run blindfolded into the way of destruction, has warned us 
beforehand, that we must of necessity, submit to his teaching, 
and break through all difficulties to follow it. Whatever, or 
whoever would endanger our soul's salvation, must be renounced. 
Relatives and former friends, evil habits, sins that stick close to 
us, all and every thing that would keep us from Christ, though 

^ Chivfcostoni, Horn. lix. in Matt t Psalm xxxiv. 7. 



92 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xviii. 15— S5. 

they be as dear to us as a right hand, or a right eye, must be 
totally abandoned. Think who calls you to this service ! It is 
Jesus, who " came to seek and save that which was lost." His 
love ought therefore to constrain you to exercise constant self- 
denial, and his grace is always ready to help your infirmities, so 
that you may continue in his service with decision, and yet with 
liberty. 



CHAP. XVm. 15—35. 



HOW WE ARE TO DEAL WITH AN OFFENDING BROTHER.- — A PARABLE ON FOR- 
GIVENESS OF INJURIES. 

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault 
between thee and him alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy 
brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, 
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church ; but if he 
neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a 
publican. Verily I say unto you. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall 
be bound in heaven : and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be 
loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree 
on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for 
them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Then 
came Peter to him, and said. Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against 
me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ? Jesus saith unto him, I say not 
unto thee, Until seven times ; but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore 
is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take 
account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was 
brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch 
as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, 
and children, and all that he had, and pa3Tnent to be made. The servant 
therefore fell down and worshipped him, saying. Lord, have patience with 
me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was mooved with 
compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same 
servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him 
an hundred pence : and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, 
saying. Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow- servant fell down at his 
feet, and besought him, saying. Have patience with me, and I will pay thee 
all. And he would not ; but went and cast him into prison, till he should 
pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very 
sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, 
after he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave 
thee all that debt, because thou desirest me : Shouldest not thou also have 
had compassion on thy fellow- servant, even as I had pity on thee ? And 
his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should 
pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do 
also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their 
trespasses. 



cHAr. xviii. 15-M.] S. MATTHEW. i)S 

We may observe from this portion of God's holy word, how 
different the Christian doctrine of forgiveness is, from the prac- 
tice of the world. Man's evil heart induces him to expose the 
faults of others, and to indulge a revengeful temper ; but both 
of these our Lord forbids. Instead of exposing unnecessarily, 
Christ recommends us privately to seek reconcihation with an 
offending brother, before a single individual is made acquainted 
with the circumstance. If this fails, let us take two or three 
friends who may either help to heal the breach, or may be wit- 
nesses of our kind intention ; and if our adversary still continues 
implacable, let us tell the circumstance to the church, that is, to 
those who have the managing the public censures of the church, 
that they proceed against him accordingly. But if he disregard 
their censure and discipline, let him be regarded as one sepa- 
rated from the church and living in the heathen world. It is 
absurd to the last degree, to aim at proving the church's infalli- 
bility from this text, when it refers to a matter of offence from 
one member 'to another, and to the proper disciphne to be used 
on such occasions, and not to the setting forth any articles of faith. 

In order to shew his abhorrence of a revengeful or unforgiving 
temper, our Lord explained the duty of forgiveness by a parable 
which cannot be mistaken. It arose out of a question which 
Peter proposed to him — " Lord, how oft shall my brother sin 
against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ? " The obvious 
meaning of our Lord's parable is, that instead of harbouring 
resentment, we should multiply our pardon seventy times seven, 
that is, as often as our brother manifests repentance ; there is 
also a secret instruction conveyed, which points out the spirit 
and tendency of the Gospel, to pardon others from a sense of 
God's pardoning mercy in Christ. Man's sin is a great debt 
which he owes to God, and which none but Jesus can pay ; and 
if Jesus has paid the ten thousand talents for any of us, how 
ready should we be to forgive the payment of an hundred pence, 
due by an offending brother. 

We are not to infer from the conduct of the unforgiving ser- 
vant, that we can be really pardoned by God, and yet live in 
malice ; it is rather to shew how much more full of pity God is 
than man, and the necessity of cultivating the spirit of forgive- 
ness from a sense of God's* mercy to us.* The words, " I for- 
gave thee all that debt," should ever present themselves to the 
Christian's mind, when anger is rising. Oh ! what a mercy, that 

* Eph. iv. 31, 32. 



94 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xix. 

when God's justice would seize us, saying, " pay me that thou 
owest," we have one at hand who can discharge the debt for us, 
and set us eternally free. This is Jesus, an able and a willing 
Saviour. May he be your Saviour ! then shall you know the 
sweetness of these words, " the Lord of that servant was moved 
with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt." 
If it appears to you difficult to attain this constant self-restraint, 
and this meek, forgiving temper, you should remember that for 
all these things the Lord must be entreated. They are his gifts, 
and he must be asked to bestow them. How gracious is the 
promise, " If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any 
thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father 
which is in heaven." This is a great warrant for joining our 
supplications in the public worship of the house of God, for if the 
Lord hears one believer, when he seeks those things that are 
according to his will, how much more acceptably must the in- 
cense of united intercession ascend before the throne, in the 
name of the great Mediator. Oh ! that we may all join in family 
worship ; in the service of the church ; in all faithful, united sup- 
pUcation, as those who expect to obtain their petitions, and to 
be filled with all that fulness of love, peace, and holiness, which 
the Lord is so ready to bestow. 



CHAP. XIX. 

WHEN DIVORCES ARE LAWFUL THE YOUNG MAn's QUESTION THE DANGER 

OF RICHES. 

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed 
from GaUlee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan : And great 
multitudes followed him ; and he healed them there. The Pharisees also 
came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man 
to put away his wife for every cause ? And he answered and said unto them. 
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male 
and female ; And said. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, 
and shall cleave to his wife ; and they twain shall be one flesh ? Wherefore 
they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined 
together, let no man put asunder. They say unto him. Why did Moses 
then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away ? 
He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, 
suffered you to put away your wives : but from the beginning it was not so. 
And I say unto you. Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it he for 
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery : and whoso 
marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say 
unto him, If the case of the man bo so with his wife, it is not good to 
marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save 



CHAP. XIX.] S. MATTHEW. 95 

they to whom it is given. For there are some emiuchs, which were so born 
from their mothei-'s womb : and there are some eunuchs, which were made 
eunuchs of men : and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves 
eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, 
let him receive it. Then were there brought unto him little children, that 
he should put his hands on them, and pray : and the disciples rebuked 
them. But Jesus said, Suifer little children, and forbid them not, to come 
unto me ; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands 
on them, and departed thence. And, behold, one came and said unto him. 
Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal hfe ? 
And he said unto him. Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but 
one, that is God : but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 
He saith vmto him. Which ? Jesus said. Thou shalt do no murder, Thou 
shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false 
witness ; Honour thy father and thy mother ; and. Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him. All these things 
have I kept from my youth up : what lack I yet ? Jesus said unto him. If 
thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and 
thou shalt have treasure in heaven ; and come and follow me. But when 
the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful : for he had 
great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples. Verily I say unto 
you. That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And 
again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his 
disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Wlio then can be 
saved ? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them. With men this is im- 
possible ; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter, and 
said unto him. Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee : what 
shall we have therefore ? And Jesus said unto them , Verilj^ I say unto 
you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of 
man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve 
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath for- 
saken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or 
children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and 
shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last ; and 
the last shall be first. 

In the portion of Scripture which has now been read, Christ 
confirms the law of marriage given to our first parents in Para- 
dise, and declares it to be binding for life, except in the case of 
adultery : and accordingly, that case excepted, no divorces are 
allowed in Christian countries. But husbands and wives who are 
truly Christian, look beyond the mere letter of the law ; they 
hear Christ saying that they are " one flesh," and consider the 
married state both as a sacred union of hearts, and a prepetual 
lively figure of the spiritual marriage and unity that is between 
Christ and his Church.* What peace would there be in families 
if all so received the command from his mouth, and endeavoured 



Eph. V. 29—33. 



96 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xix. 

to live up to it for his sake ! If we were thus faithful to him, 
and desired nothing so much as to please our Saviour and master, 
we should be like those " little children" whom he would not 
have forbidden to com6 unto him, but received with all possible 
marks of good will and affection, putting his hands upon them, 
and concerning whom he declares that of such is the kingdom 
of heaven. We may thus perceive both by his outward gesture 
and gracious words, that young children should be presented to 
the Lord, and made members of his Church by holy baptism,* 
whilst we may learn for our own good, that those only who are 
alike humble and teachable can belong to his kingdom of grace 
here, or be received into his kingdom of glory hereafter. 

A certain young man is related to have come to Christ with 
this question *. " Good master, what good thing shall I do to in- 
herit eternal life ? " What a vain hope — to purchase God's 
favour by his good works ! If we could do so, then would Christ's 
sufferings be useless. This young man was conceited of his own 
righteousness, and seemed to think that his obedience would 
stand the test, and entitle him to the reward of eternal life. 
" All the commandments," says he, " have I kept from my 
youth up, what lack I yet?" This was a bold saying, and 
Christ, who knew how much he was mistaken, tried to convince 
him of his short-comings, by putting him to the test, whether 
he loved his neighbour as himself: — "If thou wilt be perfect, 
go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt 
have treasure in heaven, and come follow me." Observe, the 
young man asked, " what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? " 
thinking that he was in the right way, and not doubting but 
that Christ would think so too. Christ, therefore, who saw into 
the depth of his heart, took him on his own grounds, and told 
him that if he was resolved to merit happiness by his obedience, 
he must be so perfect in it as to refuse no command, how hard so- 
ever it might be to flesh and blood. You have heard how he 
shrank from the command, and chose to lose the favour of God, 
rather than part with his estate. Probably you will be ready to 
ask, must all do so ? Is it strictly required of all to sell what 
they have, and give to the poor ? No — not unless Christ was 
to lay such a particular injunction upon us : but then it would 
be our duty, (like Abraham, in offering up his only son,) to 
do as we are commanded, and we need not pretend to be the 
servants of Christ, if we are not ready to make any sacrifice 
which he may require of us. 

* See the Baptismal Service for Infants in the Book of Common Prayer. 



cuAP. XIX.] S. MATTHEW. 07 

Two instructive lessons may be gathered from this narrative : 
first, the utter impossibiUty of meriting salvation by our own 
works. God requires, and cannot but require, perfect obedience 
from every soul of man, at all times, in thought, word, and 
deed. Do not foolishly say, " all this have I kept," for no 
human being since the fall of Adam ever did so. God must 
have perfect obedience, but because we have it not to offer. He 
imputes Christ's perfect obedience to believers ; makes them per- 
fect in him, and accepts his obedience as full payment in their 
behalf. This is God's method of saving sinners, and if you 
wish to be saved, renounce for ever the vain hope of purchasing 
salvation, and look by faith to the Lord Jesus, whose " righte- 
ousness is unto and upon all them that believe." * 

The second point of instruction our Lord himself has noticed, 
viz. the danger which attends the possession of wealth. How 
hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven ! not 
merely because he is rich, for a rich man may be a Christian, as 
the example of many in the present day testifies ; but because 
he allows his riches, and consequent worldly occupations, so to 
clog his mind, that rehgion is banished from his thoughts. Are 
you rich, pray against the evil which your riches are likely to 
bring upon you — pray that you may consider yourself as God's 
steward, and may employ your wealth in some of those various 
vi^ays which present themselves, for the promotion of God's glory, 
and the spread of his Gospel on earth. Whether you will be- 
heve it or not, your riches were given you for this very purpose, 
and not to be squandered on self and vanity ; so, take heed how 
you make use of God's property. Are you poor? Instead of 
repining at your lot, murmuring against God, and envying the 
rich, bless God for keeping this great difficulty out of the way 
of your salvation, and pray that you may "be content with such 
things as ye have." 1^ 

Peter and the rest of the apostles were yet too worldly ; they 
spoke of having left all for Christ ; but it was probably too much 
with a view to a better bargain, by their temporal advancement 
afterwards : when their minds were enhghtened, they found they 
had a better possession than if Christ had been the earthly 
monarch they at first expected. It is "in the regeneration 
when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory," that 
we should look for the crown and triumph. Now Christ's king- 
dom is spiritual, — in the heart devoid of outward splendour, and 

* Rom. iii. 22. t Heb. xiii. 5. 

VOL. I. H 



98 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xx. 1—16. 

we should be ready to give up all things that would hinder our 
bearing the cross, and following the Saviour. May we have 
grace to be faithful and devoted to his service, and he will not 
deny us in the day of his coming. 

Note v. 28. — 7raAi77€J'€(ria— " regeneration " not in the moral inward sense as 
Tit. iii. 5, hut in the eternal sense, i. e. the manifestation of Messiah's 
kingdom when all things shall be delivered from corruption and restored to 
spiritual purity and splendour. See Robinson's Lexicon, citing Josephus. 



CHAP. XX. 1 — 16. 

THE PARABLE OF THE LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD, 

For the kingdom of heaven is Uke unto a certain man that is an householder, 
which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 
And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a-day, he sent them 
into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others 
standing idle in the market-place, And said unto them, Go ye also into the 
vineyard ; and whatsoever is right, I will give you. And they went their 
way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And 
about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and 
saith unto them. Why stand ye here all the day idle ? They say unto him. 
Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the 
vineyard ; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even 
was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the 
labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 
And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received 
every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they 
should have received more ; and they likewise received every man a penny. 
And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of 
the house. Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast 
made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the 
day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong : 
didst not thou agree with me for a penny ? Take that thine is, and go thy 
way : I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me 
to do what I will with mine own ? Is thine eye evil because I am good .'' So 
the last shall be first, and the first last : for many be called, but few 
chosen. 

The pride of the human heart, and its enmity against the 
sovereignty of God, render it very difficult to convince men of 
the justice and goodness of his dispensations : yet nothing can 
be m.ore certain, than that he is " righteous in all his ways, and 
holy in all his works." The parable of the labourers in the vine- 
yard was spoken for this purpose, to explain the dealings of God 
with men, and to vindicate him from the charge of injustice and 
partiality. 

Whatever lessons we may personally draw from this parable, 



CHAP. XX. 1— IG.] S. MATTHEW. m 

(and they will be found truly valuable) there can be no doubt of 
our Lord's intention in making this comparison. He wished to 
remind the Jews of their pecuhar mercies in being selected out 
of all the nations of the earth, that they might stand in cove- 
nant-relation to Jehovah, and enjoy all the privileges of the 
visible Church. They were early called to the service of the 
Lord, whilst other nations were left ignorant and unemployed. 
With them an agreement was made that they should " receive 
every man a penny,"* with the other four classes no stipulation 
was made — but only the promise, " whatsoever is right I will 
give you." We may suppose that our Lord refers to the Samari- 
tans by the class of labourers hired at the third hour, (or our 
ninth hour,) with whom no covenant was made, yet they par- 
took of the Jewish privileges.! The same may be asserted of 
those hired at the sixth and ninth hours, who may represent the 
proselytes, or those converted to the knowledge of the true God, 
by means of the Jews, without being fully incorporated with 
them. And the Gentiles, generally, seem to be set forth by 
those hired at the eleventh hour ; when the legal dispensation 
was about to close, and the nations of the earth were to share in 
the privileges of the visible Church. 

The penny then does not mean eternal life, which in every 
case is the gift — the free gift of God, — but the privilege of be- 
coming the worshippers of the true God, which belonged to the 
Jews by a special covenant, but which others shared with them, 
partially under the Old Testament, by a grant of divine mercy, 
and which was fully opened to the Gentile nations by the dispen- 
sation of the Spirit. Our Lord foreseeing that the Jews would 
grudge this favour to the Gentiles, describes them murmuring 
at the dealings of the " good man " or master of the house, 
which our Lord justly rebukes by showing that they had received 
all that he covenanted to give them, whilst he was at liberty to 
bestow his own gifts as he would. J 

Our Lord draws from this parable some lessons very needful for 
us all to learn. "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine 
own? is thine eye evil, because I am good? " We are often tempted 
to question the deahngs of God ; and, if we do not openly mur- 
mur, we are inclined to cherish hard thoughts of his ways, when 



* AT^vapiov, denarius, — equal to about sevenpence of our money, — an ample 
recompence for a day's labour in the eastern countries. So Tacitus, Denarius 
diurnum stipendium. 

+ 2 Kings xvii. 27, 28. 

X See Greswell on the Parables. Vol. IV. p. 82. 

H 2 



100 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xx. 17—04. 

they exceed our comprehension. How fooUsh is this ! " Shall 
the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made 
me thus ? " — How much better to repose in God's sovereignty, 
and to feel assured that he doeth all things well. He has a right 
to do what he will with his own. It is for us to receive all his 
gifts as the stream of pure mercy, and where we cannot fathom 
his counsels, to say, " It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him 
good." 

Again, our Lord says, " The last shall be first, and the first 
last, for many be called, but few chosen." Do we not see the truth 
of this before us continually ? Those who have abundant oppor- 
tunities, and seem to run well for a time, often grow weary in well- 
doing — backshde from the w^ays of the Lord, and eventually are 
cast into outward darkness ; whilst they who have much to 
struggle against, and have a scanty supply, often outstrip the 
disciples that started in the race before them. Remember that 
you are called to be a professed follower of Christ. You were en- 
listed by baptism to rank amongst the soldiers of Jesus Christ. 
Do you fight manfully against the world, the flesh, and the 
devil ? Do you shew that you are among the chosen of Christ, 
who have the grace of faithfulness, as well as the badge of Chris- 
tianity ? 



CHAP. XX. 17—34. 

THE REQUFST OF THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND JOHN TWO BLIND MEN 

RECEIA^E THEIR SIGHT. 

And Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart in the way, 
and said unto them. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man 
shall be betrayed mito the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they 
shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, 
and to scourge, and to crucify him : and the third day he shall rise again. 
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worship- 
ping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, 
What wilt thou ? She saith unto him. Grant that these my two sons may 
sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 
But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to 
drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism 
that I am baptized with ? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith 
unto them, ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the bap- 
tism that I am baptized with ; but to sit on my right hand, and on my 
left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is pre- 
pared of my Father. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with 
indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called themunto him, and 
said. Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, 



CHAP. XX. 17—34.] S. MATTHEW. 101 

and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be 
so among you : but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your 
minister ; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and 
to give his life a ransom for many. And as they departed from Jericho, a 
great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by 
the way-side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, 
Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David ! And the multitude re- 
buked them, because they should hold their peace : but they cried the 
more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thott Son of David ! And Jesus 
stood still, and called them, and said. What will ye that I shall do unto 
you? They say unto him. Lord, that our eyes maybe opened. So Jesus 
had compassion on them, and touched their eyes ; and immediately their 
eyes received sight, and they followed him. 

As the time of our blessed Lord's sufferings drew near, we find 
him going up to Jerusalem, which was to be the scene of 
them : and on the way he prepared the minds of his disciples for 
what they should witness, by foretelhng his crucifixion and 
resurrection. One would think that this were enough to banish 
all vain hopes of his temporal kingdom, at that time ; but still the 
disciples continued in the same mistake : and we are here told of 
two of them, James and John, who came to him with a request 
for precedence in his kingdom, and to make sure work of it, 
brought with them their mother to plead their cause. Our Lord 
inquired whether they could " drink of his cup, and be baptized 
with his baptism," i. e. whether they could share the same cup of 
sufferings, and fiery trial, with him. To which they replied that 
they were able. Alas ! they knew but httle at that time, of what 
his sufferings would be, or they would not have spoken so unad- 
visedly. How exceedingly bitter was that cup, which our Lord 
himself would have avoided, had it been the Father's will. Well 
for them — for us — for all men — that the Lord drank it to the 
very dregs, so far as atoning sufferings are concerned. It is true 
that we are called to suffer with Christ ; for, as the head of the 
body was a man of sorrows, so must the members pass through 
deep waters to the land of rest. Our Lord, therefore, told them 
that they should indeed suffer for his sake, and accordingly they 
did — James having been put to death by Herod,* and John, 
though spared a violent death, was, after persecutions and sujQfer- 
ings, banished to the island of Patmos.f Still their request could 
not be granted ; first, because no such kingdom as they hoped 
for, would, at that time, arrive ; and secondly, because the places 
which they sought, would be filled up in Christ's future king- 
dom, by such persons as God would prepare for them. 

* Actsxii. 2. . t Rev. i. 9. 



102 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxi. 1—22. 

The other disciples being indignant at the request of James and 
John, most probably from selfish views, our Lord rebuked them 
by shewing that, though ambition and resentment were com- 
monly found in the kingdoms of men, these ought not to be found 
in the church of God. There is very little of that pure zeal, which 
is displeased with the sins of others, merely out of hatred to sin 
and love to God. Even when rebuking others for pride, we 
should take care lest we fall into the same sin. Our Lord has 
decided that true greatness consists in humility, and that they are 
highest in his kingdom, who are louiest in their own estimation. 
Let us then have the example of the meek and lowly Saviour 
ever before us ; who " came not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The cross of 
Jesus, from whence flows all our salvation, should teach us to cast 
down all high thoughts of ourselves, and should restrain us from 
aspiring after earthly honours and exaltation. Let it be our chief 
ambition to carry the cross steadily and devotedly, in the foot- 
steps of our blessed Master. 

The narrative of the cure of two blind men is replete with in- 
struction, they cried, as Jesus passed, but he seemed to disregard 
them. They cried again, and the multitude rebuked them. But 
they were in earnest about what they asked — would not be put 
off, and again they cried, saying, " Have mercy on us, O Lord, 
thou Son of David ; " nor did they cry in vain, for the Saviour 
stopped and healed them. Are your prayers of this description ? 
or are you easily put off from them, by trifling circumstances, or 
by the voice of the worldly multitude ? If so, you have little to 
expect from Jesus. His people strive, struggle, wrestle in prayer, 
and thus they show their earnestness. Try and copy their zeal, 
and as Jesus so often says to you in his Holy Word, " What wilt 
thou that I shall do unto thee," — answer, " Lord, that my eyes 
may be opened," to see my own real state, and to see thee, the 
only true Saviour. 



CHAP. XXL 1—22. 



CHRIST RIDETII INTO JERUSALEM DRIVETH THE BUYERS AND SELLERS OUT 

OF THE TEMPLE THE BARREN FIG-TREE. 

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, 
unto the mount of OUves, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them. 
Go into the -village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass 
tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any 



CHAP. XXI. 1—22.] S. MATTHEW. 103 

man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them ; and 
straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might he ful- 
filled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of 
Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, 
and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus 
commanded them. And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them 
their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude 
spread their garments in the way ; others cut down branches from the 
trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, 
and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David ! Blessed 
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; Hosanna in the highest ! And 
when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is 
this ? And the multitude said. This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of 
Gahlee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them 
that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money- 
changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them. It 
is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer ; but ye have 
made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the 
temple : and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes 
saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, 
and saying, Hosanna to the son of David ; they were sore displeased ; 
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say ? And Jesus saith unto 
them. Yea ; have ye never read. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings 
thou hast perfected praise ? And he left them, and went out of the city 
into Bethany ; and he lodged there. Now in the morning as he returned 
into the city, he hmigered. And when he saw a fig-tree in the way, he 
came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it. 
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig- 
tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying. 
How soon is the fig-tree withered away ! Jesus answered and said unto 
them. Verily I say unto you. If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall 
not only do this which is done to the fig-tree, but also if ye shall say unto 
this mountain. Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ; it shall 
be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye 
shall receive. 

After the account of our Lord's birth, teaching, and miracles, 
we are now come, in the order of this Gospel, to his public entry 
into Jerusalem, where he was going- to finish the great work for 
which he came into the world, and to perfect obedience by suffer- 
ing death upon the cross for man's redemption. Before he arrived 
at Jerusalem, he sent on two disciples, and directed them where 
to find an ass's colt, on which he intended to ride ; and truly did 
he give proof that it was " the Lord " who had need of it, by [de- 
scribing so many particulars of persons, place, and situation, as 
Omniscience alone could have been aware of. Thus, in fulfilment 
of a prophecy, uttered above 500 years before, by the prophet 
Zechariah,* did the Saviour enter Jerusalem in humble triumph, 

* Zech. ix. If. 



104 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxi. 1—22. 

seated " upon a colt, the foal of an ass." Multitudes now came 
forth to meet him ; they showed their joy, and honoured him by 
such methods as were used upon the accession of kings to the 
throne, or on the triumphal return of conquerers to their capital 
city : they spread their garments along the road, and on each 
side, branches of trees : they acknowledged him as the Messiah, 
and cried, " Hosanna to the Son of David ! " This appearance 
of state which our Lord assumed, was intended to prefigure 
the real dignity which he shall yet enjoy, when he comes, as 
King, to sit upon the throne of David.* 

But of what avail was this momentary expression of joy, when, 
within five days afterwards, many of the same multitude gave ut- 
terance to the feelings of their hearts, and cried, " Crucify him, 
crucify him." It is to be feared they still had hopes of temporal 
power from him, though his appearance so ill bespoke it, and that 
when every idea of this was gone, in the prospect of his speedy 
death, they then joined the popular cry against him. How many 
now-a-days resemble them: they would be religious if they could 
gain anything of earthly enjoyment by it, but when they are 
called to follow a crucified Master, to suffer persecution, and to 
stem the tide of popular outcry, their fair professions vanish, and 
they join the world in the abuse of Christ and his people. This 
portion of Scripture was written that you might judge yourselves 
by it, and that you might be led to cry, in sincerity, as the mul- 
titude did, feignedly, " Hosanna to the Son of David," and to 
say, with joy in your hearts, " Blessed is he that cometh in the 
name of the Lord : " for what can it signify to you to hear of his 
coming with salvation to a lost world, if you are not seeking after 
it, and made partakers of it for yourselves ? " When he was come 
into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying. Who is this ? " 
Can you answer the question from your own experience ? have 
you not only heard of him by the hearing of your ear — but felt the 
pleasure of his Gospel ? Do you enjoy the peace of God which 
his Gospel conveys to every true believer ? 

,When arrived at Jerusalem, our Lord went straightway to the 
temple, and on the day following he entered it again, and drove 
from thence the buyers and sellers, who, under pretence of having 
animals ready for sacrifice, had turned the house of God into a 
pubhc market. Be instructed by our Lord's conduct, as to the 
regard you should have for places more immediately set apart for 
God's worship and service. Let his house be a house of prayer to 

■■• •Luke i. 32, 33. 



CHAP. XXI. 1—22.] S. MATTHEW. 10-5 

you, and when you enter there, think of nothing but the proper 
business of it. Leave your worldly thoughts behind you, leave 
your common conversation without the gates, and enter, as those 
should do who expect to meet the God of holiness in prayer, and 
to draw down his blessing on their souls. None will really value 
the privilege of prayer, but those into whose hearts Christ has 
entered by his Spirit, and expelled the unclean thoughts and 
desires that dwelt therein. 

The anger of the chief priests and scribes was now excited 
when they heard even the children employed in praising Jesus, 
and crying, " Hosanna to the Son of David." Children will 
learn of those that are with them, either to curse and swear, or 
pray and praise. These children heard the song of praise, and 
echoed it. Even here was a prophecy fulfilled, for David had 
said in the 8th Psalm, " out of the mouth of babes and suck- 
lings hast thou ordained strength." 

The next morning, as our Lord returned from Bethany to 
Jerusalem, he sought fruit upon a fig-tree which he passed, but 
it proved to be barren, though its leaves gave promise that fruit 
might be expected. Upon this he cursed it, and the next day, 
as our Lord and the disciples passed that road, it was observed 
by them to be withered.* Their surprise was answered by an 
express declaration, that if their faith in his power were firm, 
they might perform greater things than this; and that all 
things, whatsoever they asked in prayer, believing, should be 
granted. Let us seek to have a share in so full and glorious a 
promise. 

This barren fig-tree was an emblem of the Jewish nation, 
which professed the worship of the true God, and seemed to 
promise fi'uit ; but when Christ came, he found nothing but the 
leaves of profession : they called " Abraham their father, but 
did not do the works of Abraham : " they therefore fell under 
his wrath, and we may now behold the Jewish nation, and say — 
" See how the fig-tree is withered." Let us beware, lest at the 
same time we pronounce our own doom. God expects fruit 
from each of us, and he may reasonably do so, for we have en- 
joyed the highest advantages : care and culture has been be- 
stowed on us ; planted within all the means of grace and ordi- 
nances of religion, our doom will be still more heavy than that 
of the Jews, if we produce nothing but the leaves of an empty 
profession. Judge yourselves, that ye be not judged of the 

"'■ See Mark xi. 13, and Doddridge's Expositor on the phrase, " the time of 
iia^s was not yet." Section 149. 



106 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxi. 2»— 46. 

Lord ; and if you have reason to apprehend the safety of your 
state, call to mind the word of the promise — " Whatsoever you 
shall ask in prayer, beUeving, ye shall receive." We cannot re- 
move the mountain of an unconverted heart, but with God all 
things are possible : " Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy 
may be full." 

Note V. 12.— KoAA.u/3icrT7jx. The "moneychangers" were occupied at the temple 
in changing the foreign coins and also the skekel, that the Jews might pay the 
half shekel as commanded in Exod. xxx. 15. They exacted a small fee called 
Kolbon, and carried on this exchange of money in the temple, under the plea 
of helping men to pay the tax of the temple. 



CHAP. XXI. 23—46. 

JOHN THE baptist's AUTHORITY THE PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS OF THE 

WICKED HUSBANDMEN. 

And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of 
the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said. By what authority 
doest thou these things ? and who gave thee this authority ? And Jesus 
answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye 
tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 
The baptism of John, whence was it ? from heaven, or of men ? And they 
reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven ; he will 
say unto us. Why did ye not then believe him ? But if we shall say, Of 
men ; we fear the people ; for all hold John as a propbet. And they 
answered Jesus, and said. We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Nei- 
ther tell I you by what authority I do these things. But what think ye ? 
A certain man had two sons ; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go 
work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not : but 
afterward be repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said 
likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir : and went not. Whether 
of them twain did the will of his father ? They say unto him. The first. 
Jesus saith unto them. Verily I say unto you. That the publicans and the 
harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you 
in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not : but the publicans 
and the harlots believed him : and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not 
afterward, that ye might believe him. Hear another parable : There was 
a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round 
about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to 
husbandmen, and went into a far country : And when the time of the fruit 
drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive 
the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, 
and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants 
more than the first : and they did unto them likewise. But last of all 
he sent unto them his son, saying. They will reverence my son. But 
when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is 
the heir ; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on bis inheritance. And 
they caught him, and cast hitn out of the vineyard, and slew him. When 



CHAP. XXI. 23—46.] S. MATTHEW. 107 

the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those 
husbandmen ? They say unto him. He will miserably destroy those wicked 
men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall 
render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye 
never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the 
same is become the head of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, and it is 
marvellous in our eyes ? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God 
shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits 
thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken : but on 
whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief 
priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake 
of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the 
multitude, because they took him for a prophet. 



When the chief priests and elders of the people asked Jesus, 
" by what authority he did these things," viz. making a public 
entry into Jerusalem — receiving the acclamations of the people 
as the Messiah — and turning the buyers and sellers out of the 
temple ; instead of giving them satisfaction on the point, and 
telling them plainly who he was, he evaded their question, by 
asking them another, which he knew they would not answer. 
And why did he so ? Because he could read their hearts, and 
saw that their design w^as not to learn of him, but to ensnare 
him. Jesus knows what is in your hearts too. If you bow be- 
fore him in mock humility, or draw near wdth your lips, while 
your heart is far from him, he will reject you : but if you be 
sincerely desirous of saving knowledge, he will meet you with 
his blessing. 

The question which our Lord proposed, was concerning John 
the Baptist. If the Pharisees said that his ministry was of hu- 
7nan authority, they were in danger of being stoned by the 
people, who highly valued John : If they acknowledged that he 
came by divine authority, then must they confess Jesus to be 
the Christ, for John testified of him that he was the Son of God. 
Thus were they embarrassed, and these great doctors chose 
rather to pretend ignorance, than to confess a truth which would 
condemn them. They said, " We cannot tell ; " No — the truth 
was, they would not tell, for their conscience convicted them. 
Many there are who are more afraid of the shame of lying, than 
the sin of it ; and therefore scruple not to tell a lie concerning 
their thoughts and intentions, or their remembering or forgetting 
of things, in which nobody can disprove them, when they would 
refuse to deny a fact, because others might convict them of an 
untruth. In such a case the fear of man is stronger than the 
fear of God. 



108 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxi. 23—4(1. 

Our Lord, then, by a parable, obliged these Pharisees to pass 
sentence on themselves. He represented the case of a father 
who had two sons — one professed obedience to him, but after- 
wards was undutiful ; the other was at first undutiful, but after- 
wards became obedient. Thus the Scribes and Pharisees pro- 
fessed a great regard for the commands of God, but when Jesus 
came, they rejected him ; while the publicans and harlots, who 
at first made no such profession, afterwards repented, and obeyed 
the Gospel. The Pharisees could not but own that the latter 
son was the more obedient of the two, and by this confession 
they were self-convicted. The whole human race are like chil- 
dren whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled 
against him ; only, some are more plausible and decent in dis- 
obedience, than others ; yet their enmity may be deeper — their 
prejudice and pride may prompt them to reject the Gospel and 
even to scoff" at its message. The open transgressor — without 
prejudice, is more hopeful than such opposers of the truth. And 
it often happens, that the more daring sinner is brought to re- 
pentance, and becomes the servant of God, while the decent 
formalist is hardened in pride and enmity to the Gospel. 

The next parable which follows, is chiefly applicable to the 
Jewish Church. God, the owner of the Church — his vineyard, 
had sent prophet after prophet to instruct and admonish them ; 
but the Jewish priests and rulers were enraged by these faithful 
monitors, and instead of repenting, and " doing works meet for 
repentance," they apprehended the servants of Jehovah, " beat- 
ing one, and killing another." At last the Lord sent his well- 
beloved Son, hoping they would " reverence him ; " but so far 
were they from doing so, that at the very time while Jesus was 
speaking, they were consulting together how they might put 
him to death, in order to secure their own authority and reputa- 
tion, thus fulfilling the parable which Jesus was uttering. If 
you are a conscientious reader of the Scriptures, consider the 
parable which has been read, and ask if you are not concerned 
in it. The vineyard then was the Jewish church * — now, it is 
planted by God amongst the Gentiles, and put into a condition 
of bearing fruit. Our Lord speaks of taking the vineyard from 
the Jews, and giving it " to a nation bringing forth the fruits 
thereof." There is no nation in the world, which holds the pure 
doctrines of the Gospel so decidedly as our own ; yet we have 
nothing to boast of, for all is of grace. Think, each of you who 

* Isaiah v. 7. 



CHAP. XXII. 1-22.] S. MATTHEW, 109 

hear this ; has God done all that was necessary, and more than 
you could expect, to bring you to a fruit-bearing state, and is the 
day coming when he will look for fruit at your hands ? Has 
he not sent his messengers, his holy prophets, his apostles to 
you, delivering all the will of God made known to them? 
Is not the book of the Scriptures, which you have in your hands, 
an account of what God has been doing in the world for the 
recovery of lost mankind ? Is not the Lord Jesus Christ therein 
revealed to you as a Saviour to purge your sins with his blood — 
to bring your straying heart back to God — to make you a new 
creature, fit for glory ? What effect, then, has all this had upon 
your souls ? Is Christ precious to you ? Have you fruit for 
him — the fruit of gratitude ? Do you love his word, his day, 
his ordinances ? If not, your greater advantages above others 
will turn to your greater condemnation. 

Note v. 44 is thus paraphrased b}^ Burkett. — " He that stumbles on the stone 
while Christ is here on earth, being offended at his doctrine, life and miracles, 
shall be broken by his fall upon it, as the person stoned is by the sharp stone 
which he falls upon. But he on whom this stone shall fall, when Christ is 
elevated to his throne of glory, shall be more violently shattered by it, as is 
the person stoned by the gr^at stone as big as two men can lift, thrown down 
violently upon his breast." 



CHAP. XXII. 1—22. 



THE MARRIAGE SUPPER THE WEDDING GARMENT ON PAYING TRIBUTE. 

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The 
kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for 
his son : And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the 
wedding : and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, 
saying. Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner : 
my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready : come unto 
the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his 
farm, another to his merchandize : And the remnant took his servants, 
and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard 
thereof, he was wroth : and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those 
murderers, and burnt up their city. Then saith he to his servants. The 
wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye 
therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the mar- 
riage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered toge- 
ther all as many as they found, both bad and good : and the wedding was 
furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he 
saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment : And he saith unto 
him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment ? 
And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him 
hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness ; there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are 



110 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxii. 1—22. 

chosen. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might 
entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples, with 
the Herodians, saying. Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest 
the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man ; for thou re- 
gardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou ? 
Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not ? But Jesus perceived their 
wickedness, and said. Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Shew me the 
tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto 
them. Whose is this image and superscription ? They say unto him, 
Caesar's. Then saith he unto them. Render therefore unto Csesar the 
things which are Caesar's ; and unto God the things that are God's. When 
they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their 
way. 

The kingdom of heaven, spoken of in this parable, represents 
the Gospel dispensation ; for it cannot mean the kingdom after 
death, into which none will be admitted but such as have been 
made fit for it by the Holy Spirit. Of this visible kingdom, 
they are the subjects who profess to believe in Christ, to be 
governed by him, and to prepare for his coming. Whoever of 
you are in earnest about your souls, and anxious to understand 
the word of God, will ask such questions as these, concerning 
the parable just read ; — Who is the king that invites ? Who 
are invited ? What is the marriage supper to which they are 
invited ? And what is required in order to make them worthy 
guests ? Each of these questions shall be answered, and try to 
think of yourself and your own case, as we proceed. 

The king that invites is God, who, of his free and unmerited 
favour, looked down upon the starving condition of his crea- 
tures, and formed the plan of providing for their necessities. The 
invited are, first, and principally, the Jews, his own people ; but 
when they not only refused the invitation, for worldly reasons, 
but persecuted and slew the messengers who were sent to them, 
command was given to send the message to all other nations of 
the earth, among whom are we, professing Christians. The 
marriage supper, to which we are invited, is the Gospel of 
Christ ; nor are we bidden, merely to look on at the marriage 
of another, but we are each invited to become a party ourselves, 
that is, we are encouraged to join that spiritual church of be- 
lievers, to which Christ is now, spiritually, and will hereafter, 
personally be united. Thus the church is called the spouse, and 
Christ the bridegroom. The great day of the nuptials will be 
at the close of this present period of time, when Christ shall 
come in glory, to estabhsh his kingdom. This will be the 
marriage supper of the Lamb, when the Lord Jesus shall gather 
together all his true servants, as the bride adorned and prepared 



CHAP. XXII. 1—22.] S.MATTHEW. Ill 

for the day of manifest union.* God's message, inviting- us to 
join this company of believers, has been delivered by the pro- 
phets and apostles, his messengers, and has been conveyed to 
us in that volume of inspired truth, the Bible. During the whole 
period of our life, God is inviting us, and one would think that a 
message so joyous, which reveals a way for the pardon of our 
sins, and our soul's eternal salvation, would be received with rap- 
ture, and embraced without hesitation. But, alas ! what a picture 
of the deadening influence of sin is presented in that cold enter- 
tainment which Christ and his offers receive from man. Listen 
to the various excuses which are made : some plead their business 
and worldly employment, which they say will not give them time 
to think of rehgion ; the country people have their farms to look 
after — the towns-people must attend to their shops — the rich are 
so immersed in pleasure, and the poor so distressed by want and 
care, that both, and all, beg to be excused from attending to their 
soul's salvation, as if they had no interest in the matter, and that 
to think for a moment on religion were a favour conferred on 
God. Oh ! how shall such bewail in agony the time spent upon 
vanity which might have been otherwise profitably employed ! 
What is time for, but a preparation for eternity ? and shall the 
perishable body occupy all your attention, while the imperishable 
soul is neglected ? 

Let us next observe the dress in which we must be clothed to 
become worthy guests at this marriage feast. The man in the 
parable had not on a wedding garment. And why was he par- 
ticularly to be blamed for this ? Because it was the custom in 
those days and in that country, that whenever a king or noble- 
man invited persons to a feast, he should give a suitable dress to 
all who were bidden, and therefore, when this person came with- 
out one, it was a sure sign he had never asked for it. Just so 
does that king who invites us to the Gospel feast. We have no 
dress of our own in which to appear. "Our righteousnesses are 
as filthy rags," but the Redeemer's righteousness is the wedding 
garment : it is that pure and spotless robe which can cover our 
deformities, and present us faultless in the presence of God. This 
wedding garment is to be had gratuitously. The king who in- 
vites us, wdll give it us freely if we ask. He will forgive our 
iniquities freely — he will justify us by his grace — he will sanctify 
us by the power of his Spirit, and thus prepare us for fellowship 

* Rev. xix. 7, 8, 9. 



112 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxii. 1—22. 

here, and for glory hereafter. Do you wish to be thus ready 
when your Lord calls, and to be in that happy state that death 
can never overtake you unprepared ? Jesus can make you so, 
if you will but ask him with sincerity in prayer ; and without this, 
you, and all who appear at the bar of God, shall hear that awful 
sentence pronounced — " Bind him hand and foot, take him 
away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth." 

The latter part of this portion of Scripture informs us, that 
two opposite sects of the Jews combined for the purpose of en- 
tangling our Lord in his conversation. The Pharisees refused 
subjection to the Roman government ; the Herodians were oppo- 
ed to them in this point, and by proposing the question whether 
tribute should be paid to Caesar or not, they felt sure of entrap- 
ping our Lord, let him answer how he would ; but it was not so 
easy a task as they imagined. Having obtained the coin in which 
tribute was paid, Jesus drew them to acknowledge that it bore 
Caesar's image and name, and so he tacitly inferred, that Caesar 
was the civil ruler to whom God had subjected them, and there- 
fore, as they derived protection, and the benefits of magistracy 
from him, they were not only allowed, but required, to render 
him tribute ; while at the same time, God, as the King of kings, 
demanded the first tribute of their honour and obedience. 

Let us remember, then, that to keep back any lawful tribute — 
not to pay taxes or church rates — to use contraband goods — 
all these are different ways of " breaking the precept," " render 
to Csesar the things which are Caesar's;" whilst not being devoted 
to God in heart and life, is keeping back from Him his real due. 
Let us hearken to all the commands of God, and ask. Whose image 
does this command bear ? whose authority is stamped upon it ? 
and when we know that it is the authority of the eternal, omni- 
potent Jehovah, we should at once put ourselves in the way of 
obedience, and pray constantly and sincerely that his laws may be 
written on our hearts, and that our wills may be so conformed to 
his commands, that it may be our dehght to obey them. 

Note v. 12.— "What is the wedding garment ? Gregory says " Love and a new life :" 
so generally the Fathers. Leigh in his Annotations, replies, " The righteousness 
of Christ — imputed and inherent, i. e. all that constitutes the reality of a Chris- 
tian." This seems preferable to confining it to Christ's imputed righteousness. 

Note v. 17.— The Jewish Avriters taught, " Wherever the money of any king is 
current, there the inhabitants acknowledge that king to be their Lord." — 
Maimonid^s. 



CHAP. XX IT. 2.3-46.] S.MATTHEW. 113 



CHAR XXIL 23—46. 



ON THE RESURRECTION CHRIST PROVES IT FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT 

WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT. 

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resur- 
rection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said. If a man die, having 
no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his 
brother. Now there were with us seven brethren : and the first, when he 
had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his 
brother : Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And 
last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife 
shall she be of the seven ? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said 
unto them. Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but 
are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of 
the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, 
saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when 
the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. But when 
the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they 
were gathered together. Then one of them, ichich teas a lawyer, asked 
hun a question, tempting him, saying. Master, which is the great com- 
mandment in the law ? Jesus said unto him. Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments 
hang all the law and the prophets. WTjile the Pharisees were gathered 
together, Jesus asked them. Saying, What think ye of Christ ? whose son 
is he ? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them. 
How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying. The Lord said unto 
my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ? 
If David then call him Lord, how is he his son ? And no man was able 
to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him* 
any more questions. 

The Sadducees were a sect of the Jews, who denied a future state, 
and the resurrection of the body ; and one of their objections, as 
we learn from this passa^^e of Scripture, was, that they could not 
conceive, in the case of a woman havin^ several husbands, how 
she could be the wife of them all, after death : grossly supposing 
that if there was a resurrection, all things would continue the same 
in a future state, as they are now. But after telhng them that 
in the age to come they should neither "marry nor give 
in marriage," our liord pointed to the source of their error, viz. 
their ignorance of the word of God ; " Ye do err, not knov^^ing 

VOL. I. I 



114 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxii. 2,3—46. 

the Scriptures." And to what else is it to be attributed, but to 
ignorance, and neglect of the Bible, that so many, now, are as 
unconcerned about the future state of their souls, as if there was 
no existence beyond the grave ? Are there none present to 
whom these words may be addressed, " Ye do err, not knowing 
the Scriptures ? " God has given his Holy Word to be " a lamp 
to our feet, and a light to our path," and if we studied that 
blessed volume more frequently — praying for the teaching of the 
Spirit to understand it, and regarding every word of it, as we 
would a voice speaking directly from heaven, it would give a new 
turn to our thoughts and desires, it would put us in the way of 
salvation, by teaching us to know ourselves, and by revealing that 
Saviour, " whom to know is life eternal." 

Our Lord next proves the doctrine of a future state and resur- 
rection, from those Scriptures which the Sadducees acknow- 
ledged, but which they had neglected. In the third chapter of 
Exodus, and sixth verse, God says, " lam the God of Abraham, 
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob : " but at the time God 
spoke these words, the Patriarchs had long been dead. How 
could he be their God at that time, if they had ceased to exist 
at death ? Besides, as man's name is given to his body, how 
could God be the God of Abraham, if his body was not to rise 
again ? 

The Sadducees being thus put to silence by Christ, the 
Pharisees again encounter him, and send unto him a Lawyer, 
(that is, one who expounded the law of Moses,) to question him. 
On his asking our Lord, " Which is the great commandment in 
the law ? " he was answered, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind ; " and 
the next important commandment, and closely alhed to this, is, 
^' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" Let us first con- 
sider what is implied in loving God with all the heart, soul, 
mind, and strength. That person loves God with all the heart, 
who loves nothing in comparison of him — who is ready to give 
up, do, or suffer any thing in order to please and glorify him : 
that person loves God with all his soul, (or life), who is ready 
to part with life for his sake, to endure persecution, and be 
deprived of all kinds of comfort rather than dishonour him : that 
person loves God with all his strength, who exerts all the powers 
of his body and soul, in the service of God, who employs in his 
service all his talents and his influence : and, lastly, that person 
loves God with all his mind, who seeks above all other things, 
to know God and his holy will, as revealed in the Scriptures ; 



CHAP. XXIII. 1—22.] S. MATTHEW. 115 

in a M'ord, who sees God in all things, thinks of him at all times, 
who begins, continues, and ends all his actions to the glory of his 
name. This, then, is the person who loves God with all his 
heart, life, strength and mind. O happy state ! far beyond any 
description. As these words which have now been read, come 
from the Saviour's mouth, let us pause, and consider whether we 
feel such love as this. The world consists of two classes only, 
those who love God, and those who love him not ; to which of 
these do we belong ? it is an awful question, but let us not put 
it from us ; no, let us rather look to the Saviour, and pray him 
of his infinite mercy to kindle the holy fire of love within us, if 
it be not there already. The love of our neighbour sprino-s 
from love to God as its source, and consists in loving him as 
ourselves, not above or before, for this is more than God ex- 
pects, whose order is. First, that we should delight in him as our 
supreme good, then attend to ourselves, and then love our 
neighbour as ourselves. We should desire to share with others 
all the blessings we enjoy, and to relieve them from all the mise- 
ries which we dread falling on ourselves. 

We should each consider that question which our Lord pro- 
posed to the Pharisees, as addressed to ourselves — " What think 
ye of Christ ? " answer it to yourselves, as in the presence of 
God. Is he altogether glorious in your eyes, and precious to 
your hearts ? Do you build upon him as your sole and only 
Saviour, renouncing all other dependances ! According to 
your practical judgment in these matters, your character and 
conduct will be eventually regulated. 



CHAP. XXIII. 1—22. 



HOW FAR TO FOLLOW THE SCRIBES THEIR PRIDE AND HYPOCRISY CHRIST 

DENOUNCES WOES AGAINST THEM. 

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes 
and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : All, therefore, whatsoever they bid 
you observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after their works : for 
they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be 
borne, and lay them on men's shoulders ; but they themselves will not move 
them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen 
of men : they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of 
their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief 
seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of 
men. Rabbi, Eabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi : for one is your Master, 
even Christ ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon 
the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.* Neither be ye 
I 2 



116 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxiii. 1-22. 

called masters : for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is great- 
est among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself 
shall be abased ; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But 
woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the king- 
dom of heaven against men : for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer 
ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites ! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long 
prayer : therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, 
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye compass sea and land to make 
one proselyte ; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child 
of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides ! which say, 
Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing ; but whosoever shall 
swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. Ye fools, and blind ! for 
whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold } 
And, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing ; but whosoever 
swearcth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools, and blind ! 
for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift ? 
Whoso, therefore, shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all 
things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and 
by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth 
by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 

The words spoken in this chapter were addressed by our Lord 
" to the multitude " as well as to the disciples, for all were con- 
cerned in hearing what regard was to be paid to the instruction 
of the Scribes and Pharisees. They " sat in Moses's seat ;" that 
is, they were the authorised teachers, and expounders of the law 
of Moses. Whatever, therefore, they produced out of the 
Scriptures — the book of Moses, the people ought to attend to, 
and practise ; but whenever they transgressed the commands of 
God, either by example, or by substituting traditions in their 
place, then were the people commanded by Jesus to disregard 
them.* Just so is the case now, between the people and the 
ministers of the church. The office of a minister is to explain, 
enforce, and apply the doctrines contained in the word of God ; 
and if at any time he oversteps his authority, by preaching any 
thing contrary to the Bible, the people have Christ's authority 
for not following his instruction. Yet the bad character of duly 
ordained ministers does not take away the effect of Christ's 
ordinance, for " the sacraments are effectual, because of Christ's 
institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil 
men." f 

These Jewish teachers erred, grievously, in many particulars. 
Thus they erred in putting a literal construction upon portions 
of Scripture which were of spiritual import. In the sixth chap- 
ter of Deuteronomy, God had desired that his word should be 

* Matt. XTi. 6—12. t Article XXVI. of the Church of England. 



CHAP, xxiii. 1-22.] S.MATTHEW. 117 

bound upon their hands, and placed as " frontlets between then- 
eyes," — thereby meaning, that his law should be continually in 
their hands, to dispense it around, and that the fruits of it 
should be manifest in their outward behaviour, so that by obser- 
ving them, one might say — ' there is a man who fears God.' 
But instead of this, the Pharisees literally made use of parch- 
ment, inscribed with texts from the law, which they fastened to 
their foreheads, and wrists : these were called phylacteries, or, 
preservatives, being superstitiously considered as charms to pro- 
tect them from danger ; all this was done for mere show, to be 
seen of men.* For the same purpose, and to gratify pride, they 
delighted to intrude into the chief seats, to be made conspi- 
cuous ; they loved to be addressed with respect in places of 
public resort, as men of piety and talent, under the appellation 
of Rabbi and Father, by which they wished the common people 
to receive their direction with blind obedience. In this sense 
we are to call no man Father, for God alone can demand such 
implicit obedience ; we must regard no man as our Rabbi, or 
Master, so that we should follow his Avord without reference to 
the oracles of God, We are indeed to reverence our parents, 
rulers, and pastors, but not to exalt any into the place of God's 
authority. Our Lord would have us know that all such conduct 
was directly opposed to the spirit of the Scriptures. He who 
is consistently a disciple of Christ, loves privacy for his devotion, 
and delights most to commune with his Father in those places 
where no human eye follows him. He is lowly in his own esti- 
mation, and therefore makes choice of the lowest places, in 
honour preferring others to himself. 

The anger with which our Lord viewed the conduct of the 
Pharisees, may be estimated by the forcible language in which 
he condemned them : " Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites ! " and woe unto all other ministers, who, like them, 
are appointed to guide men into the way of salvation, and yet 
point not, solely, to Christ, as the way of access to the Father. 
Woe to all who make religion a mask or pretext to oblain 
earthly power and riches — who multiply prayers by the dozen, 
and think they shall be heard for their much speaking. Alas ! 
that man should so mistake the character of God, as to suppose 
that any outward ceremony, however solemn or imposing — any 

* The phylactries used by the Jews for some centuries past, are small cases of 
parchments, witli divisions, into which are placed sentences or chapters of 
Scripture, carefully written on strips of parchment. They tie them on their arm 
morning and evening, when they say their prayers, and hence they are called 
Tephlim or prayers. — See Lamy and Lightfoot. 



118 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxiii. 23—39. 

number of prayers, however regularly repeated, could supply the 
place of that inward affection of the hearty which God invariably 
demands. " God is a spirit, and they who worship him, must 
worship him in spirit and in truth." 

In several other particulars the conduct of the Pharisees came 
under our Lord's censure. They were assiduous in making 
proselytes, not from a desire of promoting the glory of God, but 
in order to strengthen their party, and to advance their reputa- 
tion. They vainly taught the people, that an oath sworn by the 
gold or the sacrifices which passed through their hands, was 
more binding, than if they swore " by the temple," or " the 
altar ; " whereas they ought first to have said to them, " swear 
not at all," and next they should have explained, that an oath 
" by the altar," included the gift or sacrifice upon it, and an 
oath " by the temple " included the God whose typical resi- 
dence it was, as well as the gold that was there consecrated to 
him. But this would not serve their purpose. Let us all re- 
member that the eye of God ever looks at the heart of man, 
and let the work we are ens^ao^ed in be of ever so charitable a 
nature, or perfect in the view of our fellow-creatures, yet if it 
spring not from gratitude, and from the holy motive of bringing 
glory to God, that work is not the genuine fruit of the Spirit, 
and cannot be pleasing in the sight of God. 



CHAP. XXIIL 23—39. 



CHRIST CONTINUES TO DENOUNCE THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES HK 

WEEPS OVER JERUSALEM. 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint, 
and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the 
law, judgment, mercy, and faith : these ought ye to have done, and not 
to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides ! which strain at a gnat, and 
swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for 
ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, hut \nthin they 
are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee ! cleanse first that 
which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean 
also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye are like 
unto whitcd sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are 
within full of dead mens bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also 
outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy 
and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! because 
ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the 
righteous, And say. If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would 
not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Where- 
fore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which 



CHAP. XXIII. 23— 39.] S.MATTHEW. 119 

killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye 
serpents, ye generation of vipers ! how can ye escape the damnation of 
hell ? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and 
scribes : and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and some of them 
shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city : 
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, 
from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Ba- 
rachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say 
unto you. All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent 
. unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as 
a hen gathereth her chickens unto her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, 
your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you. Ye shall not 
see me henceforth, till ye shall say. Blessed is he that cometh in the name 
of the Lord. 

It is remarkable what a difference our blessed Lord made be- 
tween the people and their unfaithful ministers, on every occa- 
sion when he addressed them. To the people he never spoke 
but in tender and affectionate language, as one who pitied, and 
felt for their wants. But when speaking to those who had the 
office of the people's guides, and yet led them from the scriptures, 
he showed his abhorrence of their conduct, by the harshness of 
his expressions, calling them " blind Pharisees," " hypocrites," 
and " a generation of vipers," who could not escape the dam- 
nation of hell. How much they deserved such names, is evident 
from those instances of their character and conduct, here related. 
They were scrupulous in minute exteriors, but very remiss in im- 
portant matters : they professed to be so tender in their con- 
sciences, that they paid tithe even of garden herbs, mint, anise, 
and such like, while they totally omitted many weighty matters 
of the law. " They strained at a gnat," or, strained a small 
insect out of what they were going to drink, lest it should choke 
them, and yet they could, on occasion, " swallow a camel." 
This was a proverb, to denote that the sins they committed were 
as much larger than those which they scrupled at, as a camel is 
larger than an insect. 

When we hear Christ, throughout this chapter, censuring the 
Scribes and Pharisees with such severity of expression, we should 
set ourselves to examine whether there is any thing similar in our 
doctrine and practice, which will assuredly call down the same 
reproof. The Pharisee lies deep within us all, by nature ; and a 
decent outside is, for the most part, the sum total of an uncon- 
verted man's religion. But Christ has a piercing eye, and as he 
cannot be deceived, so he will not be put off with a form. What 
will your outward covering avail in that day, when " the Lord 



120 S. MATTHEW. [cuap. xxiii. 23—39. 

Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them 
that know him not ? " See, then, the necessity for " a new heart," 
" a clean heart," a changed heart, to purify the source of your 
words and actions, and make you truly and sincerely, in secret, 
what now, perhaps, you only appear to be in public. 

How exactly similar are all unconverted men in every age of 
the world ! be they Jews or professing Christians, their ideas 
and expressions are alike. This is strikingly evident from the 
faults with which the Pharisees were charged, and which are to 
be found in nominal Christians of the present day : our Lord 
says, they built the sepulchres of those prophets whom their 
fathers had killed — meaning, that they seemed to condemn the act 
of their fathers, by reverencing the memory of the departed pro- 
phets ; but what did this profession avail, when they themselves 
were going to crucify him whom the prophets foretold ? How 
many are there now to be found, who would consider it an insult 
to be told that they did not reverence the memory, and love the 
character of St. Paul, St. John, or St. Peter, who yet cannot 
endure those ministers who preach the same doctrines as they 
did, and who endeavour to conform to their holiness of life ! 

After the censures pronounced upon the Pharisees, our Lord 
proceeds with great tenderness to declare the miseries which the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem were about to bring on themselves, by 
crucifying him, the Lord of Glory. He had, for ages, by his 
prophets, repeatedly invited the Jews to take shelter under the 
shadow of his wings, and afterwards he invited them himself, by 
his personal ministry, but they " would not come ; " therefore 
the ruin of their city and nation was determined ; their temple 
should soon be levelled to the ground, and they themselves cast 
out of the church, till they became willing to submit to him who 
" cometh in the name of the Lord." In the meantime, he fore- 
saw the storm of divine wrath that was about to burst on this 
ungrateful city — how Jerusalem would be trodden down of the 
Gentiles, and what tremendous sufferings the people were about 
to endure at the approaching siege ; and he who had such deep 
sympathy for human sorrow, wept over the devoted city, and 
poured out his tears for them who would soon fill up the measure 
of their iniquity by shedding his precious blood. All nature 
does not afford a more apt emblem of the Saviour's love, and 
faithful care of his redeemed people, than that which is here 
presented. Christ now speaks to us, and says, " How often 
would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings " — shall he be obliged to finish the sentence and 



CHAP. XXIV. 1-28.] S.MATTHEW. 121 

say, — " and ye would not ?" Have all his invitations and pre- 
cious promises been disregarded ? Has the Gospel been preached 
to you in vain ? Pause, sinner, pause, and think whom you are 
slighting — Jehovah Jesus, who now speaks in endearing lan- 
guage, but who will yet speak in terror and dismay, to all who 
are more willing to follow the world, than to become his disci- 
ples. Your day is not yet closed — he still invites you. Ask 
him to give you the inclination — to make you willing ; then 
shall he " cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt 
thou trust ; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." 

Note on v. 3o. — It has been much controverted what Zacharias is meant. Most 
writers point out the prophet mentioned in 2 Chron. xxiv. 19, 20 The 
difficulty arising from his being called the son of Jehoiada instead of as here, 
Barachias, may be explained by the fact, that the Jews had often two names. 



CHAP. XXIV. 1—28. 



CHRIST FORETELLETH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE WHAT, AND HOW 

GREAT CALAMITIES SHOULD BEFAL THE JEWS. 

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple : and his disciples came to 
him, for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto 
them, See ye not all these things ? Verily I say unto you. There shall not 
be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And 
as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, 
saying, Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of 
thy coming, and of the end of the world ? And Jesus answered and said 
unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in 
my name, saying, I am Christ ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear 
of wars, and rumours of wars : see that ye be not troubled : for all these 
things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise 
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom : and there shall be famines 
and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the be- 
ginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and 
shall kill you : and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall 
hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive 
many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax 
cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And 
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness 
unto all nations ; and then shall the end come. When ye, therefore, shall 
see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand 
in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let liim understand,) Then let them 
which be in Judea flee into the mountains : Let him which is on the house- 
top not come down to take any thing out of his house : Neither let him 
which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them 
that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days ! But pray 
ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day ; For 



122 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxiv. 1—28. 

then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the 
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be 
shortened, there should no flesh be saved : but for the elect's sake those 
days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is 
Christ, or there ; bcUeve it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and 
false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders ; insomuch that, if 
it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you 
before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert ; 
go not forth : Behold, he is in the secret chambers ; believe it not. For 
as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west ; 
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase 
is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 

Were there no other evidence of the divine mission of the Lord 
Jesus, than that which this chapter affords, it ought to be more 
than sufficient to convince the most incredulous. Who, but a 
person conscious of speaking with divine authority, would have 
ventured to deliver such predictions as are here contained? 
Who, but God, could have foretold that the Jewish temple, then 
in the height of splendour, and constructed with the greatest 
ability, should, within that present generation, be so completely 
destroyed, that " one stone should not be left upon another ? " 
And yet, unlikely as all this appeared to be, it was most exactly 
accomplished. Jerusalem was taken by the Romans ;— Titus, 
the Roman general, desired exceedingly to save the temple, but 
the rage of the soldiers, and the infatuation of the Jews were 
such, that he was unable to accomplish his desire, and the words 
of Christ were fulfilled — " the abomination of desolation " (viz. 
the Roman standard,) "spoken of by Daniel the prophet," was 
erected " in the holy place " * — the temple was repeatedly set 
on fire, contrary to the strict commands of Titus ; and after the 
flames had devoured all that could yield to their influence, the 
remainder of the structure was demolished, and the materials re- 
moved, in order to search for the treasure that was buried under 
its ruins, so that, in the event, the very foundations were sub- 
verted ; the ground on which it stood was actually ploughed up, 
and our Lord's prophecy received an exact and literal accom- 
plishment in less than forty years after it was uttered. t Nor 
were his prophecies of ruin to his enemies, less remarkable than 
those of mercy to his true followers. Certain signs were fore- 
told, which should mark the approach of the calamities, and by 
these the Christians in Jerusalem were warned to make their 



* Dan. ix. 27. 
t See the independent testimony of Josephus. — Wars of the Jews, lib. vi. and 
vii. clearly proving that this word of prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. 



I 



CHAP. XXIV. 1-28.] S. MATTHEW. 123 

escape ; this part of our Lord's prophecy was also fulfilled — the 
signs did happen — the Christians took warning by them, and 
fled, some to a neighbouring- village called Pella, others to 
Mount Lebanon, and thereby preserved their lives. 

On hearing these awful predictions, the disciples were ex- 
cited to ask further information from Christ, respecting their 
accomphshment ; they therefore proposed three questions : — 
" When shall these things be ? What shall be the sign of 
thy coming ? And of the end of the world ? " And though 
our Lord's answers to each of these questions may be traced in 
the chapter, yet did he seem rather to check the curiosity of the 
disciples, than to afford information intelligible to them at the 
time. He speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem as the time of 
his coming, but has so interwoven that event with the awful pre- 
diction of his yet future coming, that the circumstances relating 
to each are difficult of separation. However, he warns the dis- 
ciples to beware of those who should come in his name — false 
Christs, who should deceive the Jews that were still in expecta- 
tion of the Messiah ; and he also tells them that the love of 
many would then be chilled by the persecution to which they 
should be exposed. 

Forasmuch as Jerusalem's destruction was not only a forerun- 
ner, but a figure of Christ's coming to judge apostate Christen- 
dom, we may take much of what has been said as applicable to 
ourselves. Christ says, that before the end shall come, his Gospel 
is to be preached among all nations, not for their general con- 
version, but '^for a witness " unto them, and for the gathering 
of his elect from among them : * so that we are to expect not 
the universal reception of the Gospel, but the calling out a 
body of professed disciples of Christ, before the second advent 
and reign of the Lord Jesus. 

It appears that false Christs arose at the period of Jerusalem's 
siege, and deceived many ; and that antichrist will in like manner, 
at " the time of the end," persuade men to follow after other 
Christs, or make them think the true Christ has come, but that 
he is in some secret place, — the faithful however will not follow 
them, because they know that Christ's coming will be bright and 
manifest, like the hghtning itself f We should take heed that 
no man deceive us, by preaching any other Christ, or any other 

* Acts XV. 14, 17. 
t Hence the Saints are compared to the eagles flying to the carcase, — who find 
it out with wonderful sagacity. So the saints will be all drawn to one place, 
when they see the splendour of the Lord's coming. — Leigh's Annotations, p. 65. 



124 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxiv. 1-28. 

Gospel than that contained in his Holy Word, St. Paul says, 
" though we, or an ano;el from heaven, preach any other Gospel 
unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let hira 
be accursed ; " * and cursed, in like manner, are those who 
allow themselves to be deceived and seduced. If any of us cling 
to au£rht but the righteousness of the Son of God, as the sole 
ground of acceptance, or look to any other mediator between 
God and man, but only the Lord Jesus, we are deceiving our- 
selves, and laying up wrath in store against the judgment of 
the great day. Let those of us who are Christians, be excited 
to prayer and watchfulness, for fearful times will close the present 
dispensation. Persecution tends to increase the love of Christ's 
true followers, while it blows oi/i the spark of mere profession. 
If the flame of love be at all kindled within us, the more the 
anger of the world storms upon us, the brio-hter will that flame 
be exhibited. Never did the Church of Christ flourish so well 
as in the days of adversity ; and the experience of every indi- 
vidual of that church is just the same ; for in every season of 
outward trial, Christians have less confidence in themselves, and 
are oftener with their Father in secret ; because less dependant 
on the arm of flesh. Are any of us suffering under any perse- 
cution, mockery, and ridicule, for the sake of Christ ? let us 
not be turned aside by these things, nor let our love wax cold ; 
the Saviour has promised that "as our day is, so shall our 
strength be," and " he that endureth to the end, the same shall 
be saved." 

While we meditate on the extraordinary prophecies in this 
chapter, and look upon their accomplishment as so many infalli- 
ble proofs of the truth of the Christian religion, let us apply 
the whole to ourselves, by considering the events foretold, as 
typical of far more important transactions. So sure as the words 
of Christ were accomplished in the destruction of Jerusalem, so 
sure shall unconverted sinners, among the Gentiles, meet an 
awful doom, at the second coming of the Lord Jesus ; and as 
sure as the Christians at Jerusalem escaped that ruin, by marking 
the signals of its approach — coming out from the unbelieving 
Jews, and taking refuge in the neighbouring towns, so sure shall 
all who take warning by what Christ now tells them — who 
come out from the world, and fly to him as their only refuge and 
defence — be saved, when awful ruin shall fall upon the ungodly 
at Christ's second coming, and when eternal destruction shall 
finally overtake them. 

* Gal. i. 8. 



CHAP. XXIV. 29—51.] S. MATTHEW. 125 



CHAP. XXIV. 29-51. 



THE SIGNS OF CHRIST S COMING THE WICKED AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS 

COMPARED. 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and 
the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and 
the powers of the heavens shall be shaken : And then shall appear the sign 
of the Son of man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth 
mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven 
with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great 
sound of a trumpet ; and they shall gather together his elect from the four 
winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the 
fig-tree : When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know 
that summer is nigh : So hkewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, 
know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This gene- 
ration shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and 
hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 
For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drink- 
ing, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into 
the ark, And knew not, until the flood came, and took them all away ; so 
shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field ; 
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at 
the mill ; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore ; for 
ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the 
good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he 
would have watched, and would not have suflFered his house to be broken up. 
Therefore be ye also ready : for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of 
man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath 
made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season ? Blessed 
is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily 
I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and 
if that evil servant shall say in his heart. My lord delayeth his coming ; 
And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the 
drunken ; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not 
for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut hijn asunder, 
and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites : there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth. 

Our Saviour goes on, to set forth the calamities that should 
befal the Jewish nation, immediately after the destruction of 
Jerusalem. So entire was the subversion of their ecclesiastical 
and civil state, that it may be metaphorically represented by the 
sun, moon, and stars, losing their light, and all the heavenly 
bodies being dissolved : or there may be remarkable signs in the 
heavenly bodies, — so great a concussion that the stars may ap- 



126 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxiv. 29—51. 

pear to fall, whilst the sun and moon may refuse to give their 
light. " Then," says our Lord, " shall the tribes of the earth 
mourn ; " that is, they shall lament when they see the tokens, 
and feel the weight of Christ's terrible indignation. The de- 
struction of Jerusalem is certainly a type of that great day of 
the Lord for which the church waits ; -and hence though these 
words, as the former part, has reference to Jewish calamities, 
yet their final accomplishment can only take place at the second 
advent of the Lord Jesus. For this we are taught to be pre- 
pared by the certainty of its approach, and all ages of the church 
are bound to wait for the returning master — especially as the 
promised signs and events will take place in a short space of 
time — as in the type, so in the antitype — they will be fulfilled 
in one generation.* 

" The sign of the Son of man's appearing," seems to refer 
either to some appearance of glory, previous to his actual mani- 
festation ; or to the bright splendour that shall encompass him 
in the day of his coming. We are not to confound this with 
the signs of his approaching advent, — which may be faintly 
commencing in our day, but which shall be so manifest, when 
they really take place, that all the true people of God shall lift 
up their head, for their final redemption shall then draw nigh. 
Let us then give these signs their proper place, — they are not 
to teach the doctrine, but to quicken expectation, — like the 
budding forth of the trees they will proclaim the approach of 
the church's eternal summer ; and certainly many signs have 
happened in our day that tend to beget the hope of a full bud- 
ding-forth of the fig-tree. If, for example, we take the sun, 
and moon, and stars, as symbolic of civil and ecclesiastical 
powers, we must conclude that few ages, if any, have witnessed 
the same spirit of rebeUion or opposition to the constituted 
powers. Other signs might be mentioned, but these may tend 
to quicken us in the expectation of that blessed day. 

Let us observe how differently the thoughtless world and the 
church of God regard that day. The former are occupied about 
many things, but utterly careless about the day of the Lord, — 
and this fatal sleep will hold thousands, called Christians, until 
the sound of the archangel's trumpet. Like the people in Noah's 
and Lot's day, they will be found eating and drinking — marry- 
ing and giving in marriage — engaged either in sinful pursuits or 

* " This generation shall not pass away," &c. verse 34, ij yevio, oi/ttj, — " this 
very generation," viz. in which the signs hegin, in the same they shall be per- 
fected — as with Jerusalem, so with the last period. 



CHAP. XXV. 1—13.] S. MATTHEW. , 127 

in lawful ones, without any reference to eternity : and at last 
the flood of God's wrath will overwhelm them with sudden des- 
truction. Again, our Lord compares all false professors to the 
evil servant, who says in his heart, " my Lord delayeth his 
coming." They either encourage divisions in the outward 
church, or sink into apathy and sensual indulgence. This will 
be the state of the world when Christ shall come in the clouds 
of heaven. He will find the worldling occupied in earthly 
things, — the professed Church too slothful or miserably divided, 
and only a few devoted servants waiting with their lamps 
trimmed for their returning Master. Surely this passage shews 
clearly that the victory of truth and righteousness will not occur 
in all its fulness, until the advent of Christ. In a word, it clearly 
proves that the kingdoms of this world shall not be converted to 
him before his coming. 

How different will be our condition if we are true believers : 
— we shall regard ourselves as the servants of the best of mas- 
ters — who has placed us here to live, not for self, but for the 
glory of God and the good of men, and we shall feel it a real 
privilege to do any thing in his service. Instead of dreading 
his return, we shall joyfully repeat the words — " Come, Lord 
Jesus, come quickly." We shall welcome his approach ; and at 
last hear his approving voice ; we shall reign with him when all 
his saints arise to meet him, and when his glorious kingdom shall 
be made manifest. May God impress these realities on our 
hearts, so that we may be found with the glorified church in the 
day of final blessedness. 



CHAP. XXV. 1—13. 



THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS. 

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto, ten virgins, which took 
their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were 
wise, and five were foolish. They that were foohsh took their lamps, and 
took no oil with them : But the wise took oil in their vessels with their 
lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And 
at midnight there was a cry made. Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; gd 
ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their 
lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise. Give us of your oil ; for our 
lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so ; lest there be 
not enough for us and you : but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy 
for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom cam.e ; and 
they that were ready went in with him to the marriage : and the door was 
shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying. Lord, Lord, open to 



128 , S.MATTHEW. [chap. xxv. 1—1.3. 

us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 
Watcli therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son 
of man cometh. 



We may consider this chapter as one of our Lord's last legacies 
to the world, containing as it does, his instructions delivered but 
three days before his death. His design in the parable of the 
ten virgins cannot be mistaken. He him.self tells us, that it 
was spoken to make us watchful for his second coming. The 
circumstances of the parable are taken from the custom of the 
Jews, in celebrating nuptials. The bridegroom used to go in 
the evening to fetch home his bride by the light of lamps ; 
these were carried by bride-maids, and when arrived at his 
house, they partook of the marriage supper which had been pre- 
pared. Christ is the bridegroom of the Church ; true believers 
of all ages of the Church form the mystical bride, whilst those 
who are the members of the visible Church are represented by 
the ten virgins. 

The parable sets forth the preparation of the nuptials, rather 
than gives any account of the marriage supper, and therefore 
we are called to view true behevers in a double character ; now, 
as holding the lamp of profession, and joined to a society called 
the visible church, part of which is sincere, and a part proving 
unfaithful ; whereas when the Lord shall come, believers will be 
called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, and form the Lamb's 
wife, and all insincere professors shall be cast out. Of the ten 
virgins mentioned, five were wise, and five were foolish. We 
must not, however, strain the parable, and suppose that in the 
professing Church of Christ there is an equal number of righte- 
ous and unrighteous. Alas ! experience, and the word of God, 
both testify the contrary ; — " Wide is the gate that leadeth to 
destruction, and many there be that go in thereat ; " — " Narrow 
is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." 
Blessed be God these few — this " little flock," are daily 
increasing. 

Observe, now, the difference between true rehgion and a 
mere outward profession. — " The fooMsh virgins took their 
lamps, and took no oil with them." What a useless thing is a 
lamp without oil ! it may be highly ornamented and look beau- 
tiful outside, but, still, it is perfectly useless. All formal pro- 
fessors are like these foolish virgins ; they have the lamp of 
profession in their hands — they have the appearance of being 
ready — they fancy they are ready, forgetting that the lamp 



CHAP. XXV. 1— in.] S. MATTHEW. 129 

without the oil — the outward means, without the inward grace, 
is useless. " But the wise took oil in their vessels, with their 
lamps." They not only had oil in their lamps, but had a supply 
besides, to feed them as occasion required. Here is a picture of 
a true Christian. He has been made wise unto salvation — the 
Spirit of God dwells within him — by constant prayer he draws 
down fresh supplies for himself and gives light to those around 
him. Oil is the hfe of the lamp — the Spirit of God is the life 
of the Christian. He infuses the spirit of watchfulness, sobriety 
and prayer, which are distinctive features of the true Christian. 
" While the bridegroom tarried, all slumbered and slept." This 
describes the state w^hich Christ knew that men would be in, 
before his second coming ; and it is just the state that the world 
is in, at the present time."^ The summons has gone forth, and 
is now proclaimed by many of the Lord's watchful heralds — 
" Behold the bridgroom cometh : " but even " the wnse virgins" 
— the Church of Christ — are still inclined to slumber. Let 
those who read, be warned, for surely the bridegroom cometh 
quickly. 

" Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 
Observe, they are all represented, to the last, as intending to 
meet the bridegroom, but the foolish knew not how utterly un- 
provided they were. This hour of the bridegroom's coming was 
the time of separation between the foohsh and the w^ise. Con- 
sider the distress and dismay of the former ; their lamps had 
gone out ; the w ick that had blazed for a moment, was now 
burned out, and what made their case more dismal, was, that 
they had no time then to procure the oil which they needed.f 
" The foohsh said unto the wise, give us of your oil : " foohsh 
indeed are they who suppose that one sinner can impart grace 
to another, or that those who are wholly dependant on Christ 
for salvation, have any superabundant works, to hand over for 
the benefit of others. " The wise answered, saying. Not, so, lest 
there be not enough for us and you, but go ye rather to them 
that sell, and buy for yourselves." They did go, but it was 
then too late, for before they returned from their search, the 
door was shut, and they were excluded. What a picture, this, 

'"' Greswell supposes the sleej:) to be the repose of the body in the grave, betvi-een 
death and the resurrection. Whether he be correct or not in this vievs^, may be a 
matter of discussion, but his dissertation on this parable throws great light on its 
design and tendency. See vol. v. p. 197, &c. 

+ " In many parts of the east, and particularly in the Indies, instead of torches 
and flambeaux, they caiTy a pot of oil in one hand, and a lamp full of oily rags 
in the other."— Harm er. 



130 . S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxv. 14— 4G. 

of such persons as die in false security, and who are only 
aroused to a sense of their real state and danger, by the sound 
of the last trumpet ; they supplicate mercy from Christ, but he 
is then a Judge and not a Saviour; the hour of mercy is past, 
and they cry in vain." They that were ready went in, and 
the door was shut : " And who are they that are ready ? Such 
as are " born again," by the regenerating influence of the Holy 
Spirit — are made new creatures in Christ Jesus, and walk 
through this world, only with a view to eternity, doing all 
things to the glory of God. Recollect that the foolish virgins 
put themselves in company with the wise, and expected to enter 
in with them to the marriage — so may you. They had a form 
of preparation — They came boldly to the door with these words, 
" Lord, Lord, open to us," — so may you, and yet, like them, 
you shall be excluded with these heart-breaking words, " I 
never knew you," except you are now made ready, and pre- 
pared, by the effectual working of the Spirit of God. And thus 
our Lord applies the whole parable, " Watch, therefore, for ye 
know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man 
Cometh." Lord, teach us to trim our lamps, enable us to wait 
for thy coming in power and glory, as those that long for their 
chief joy. 

Note v. 3. — When it is said, that the foolish virgins " took no'' oil with them," 
it means, as a supply above and beyond the first lighting the lamp. This supply 
■was needful for a season of watchfulness, and was the test of ^sincerity. 



CHAP. XXV. 14—46. 

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS CHRISt's COMING TO JUDGE THE VirORLD. 

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called 
his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he 
gave five talents, to another two, and to another one ; to every man accord- 
ing to his several ability ; and straightway took his journey. Then he that 
had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them 
other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained 
other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and 
hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, 
and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came 
and brought other five talents, saying. Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five 
talents ; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said 
unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant : thou hast been faith- 
ful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou 
into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and 
said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents : behold, I have gained two 



CHAP. XXV. 14-4G.] S. MATTHEW. 131 

other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and 
faithful servant : thou hast been faithfvd over a few things, I will make thee 
ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which 
had received the one talent came and said. Lord, I knew thee that thou art 
an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou 
hast not strawed. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the 
earth : lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto 
him. Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where 
I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed : Thou oughtest there- 
fore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I 
should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from 
him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that 
hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance : but from him that hath 
not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unpro- 
fitable servant into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy 
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory : And before 
him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them one from 
another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats : And he shall set 
the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the 
King say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world : 
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave 
me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in : Naked, and ye clothed 
me : I was sick and ye visited me : I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an 
hungred, and fed thee ? or thirsty, and gave thee drink ? When saw we thee 
a stranger and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee ? Or when saw we 
thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee ? And the King shall answer 
and say unto them. Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then 
shall he say also unto them on the left hand. Depart from me, ye cursed, 
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels : For I was an 
hungred, and ye gave me no meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me no 
drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me not in : naked, and ye clothed 
me not : sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also 
answer him, saying. Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a 
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee ? 
Then shall he answer them, saying. Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as 
ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these 
shall go away into everlasting punishment : but the righteous into life 
eternal. 

The man in the parable who travelled into a far country, and 
afterwards returned, represents the Lord Jesus, who has been 
absent for a long season, but who will shortly return to take an 
account of the goods intrusted to our care. It is important for 
us continually to bear in mind, that we are all the servants of 
the most high God, and are accountable to him for the proper 
use of the different talents intrusted to us. God distri- 
butes these in such measure as he thinks best. Influence, situ- 
ation, riches, learning, health, hearing, speaking,* and above all, 



132 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxv. 14— 4(;. 

the word of God, are talents given in different proportions 
amongst us, and these we are to use in the service and to the 
glory of our Lord and Master. The poorest amongst us has 
some talent which he can employ in promoting the glory of God, 
if his heart be inclined to it. When a man becomes a true 
Christian, all the talents which were before wasted, are then 
employed in the service of God ; his time, his money, his 
strength of body and mind. Let us reflect that God considers 
every thing which we possess as ivasted, if it be not in some way 
employed in his service. Observe too, that the person in the 
parable who received but one talent, is not charged with steahng 
his master's property. He gave back what he received, yet 
was he guilty for not improving it. He " hid his Lord's 
money ;" he did this to keep it safe, as he thought, but he was 
punished for keeping it idle. ■ Had it been his own, he might 
have done as he pleased ; but whatever abilities and advantages 
we have, they are not our own ; we are but stewards of them, 
and must give account to our Lord, whose goods they are. 
Taking this view of the subject, how many unprofitable servants 
are to be found amongst us, who think of little else than how 
they shall eat, drink, and be merry, as if their goods were their 
own, and as if no account should be rendered to that God, 
whose stewards they are. Let such seriously reflect on these 
solemn words : " Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer 
darkness ; " and let those who love the Lord Jesus, be dihgent 
to improve their talents more carefully, and thus at last they 
shall hear those blessed words addressed to themselves — " Enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord."* 

The remaining part of this chapter refers to the period when 
Christ shall sit on his throne of judgment, and refers more espe- 
cially to his final sentence on those who have had the light of 
revelation. It gives us a very solemn idea of the division which 
he will make in that day between true and false professors. 
There is a mixture at present in the world, of righteous and 
unrighteous, yet then will there be a separation, and it shall be 
manifest who were the true servants of Christ, and who were 
not. The righteous being placed at the right hand, are first 
addressed with an affectionate voice : " Come ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 

* On this invitation, Leighton strikingly remarks, " It is but little we can 
receive here, some drops of joy that enter into tis, but there we shall enter into 
joy, as vessels put into a sea of happiness." — See Trench, who cites more to the 
same effect in his notes on the paral^les. 



CHAP. XXV. 14-J(i.] S. MATTHEW. 13.3 

of the world." This word " inheritance," is calculated to give 
the most solid comfort to the heirs of salvation. They have a 
right to it, not by virtue of the works afterwards mentioned, 
(as some vainly suppose,) for it is said to have been " prepared 
for them " before they ever were born, or did the works. It is 
by virtue of free grace that they are made " heirs of God, and 
joint-heirs with Christ." The Saviour is then represented as 
declaring, before the world, the fruits which their faith and love 
produced ; but so far from attaching any merit to their works, 
the righteous would not have had them mentioned ; they are 
amazed to think that the Saviour should notice such poor mean 
services as their's ; they are sensible how much of imperfection was 
mixed with their holiest duties, hence their language is — " Lord, 
when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee ? " But the Lord 
shall answer, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the 
least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The 
benevolence extended towards Christ's people, shewed their love 
to him, and instead of being the cause why he should love them, 
it was an evidence of the love which they had for him. 

Awful and solemn is the Judge's denunciation, or sentence, to 
those on his left hand, " Depart from me ye cursed into everlast- 
ing fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." They had de- 
parted from him, and desired not his ways, in their lifetime — now 
he makes them depart from his presence for ever. They had no 
faith, and therefore produced no fruits of faith. It is very remark- 
able that our Lord speaks nothing of sins committed; not that the 
commission of sins will be overlooked, or left unpunished, but in 
order to show that what men think least of, viz. sins of omission, 
sufficiently stamp their character, and bring them in guilty before 
God, They are charged with the want of that evidence of faith, 
which the righteous produced. And here let it be remarked, 
that the persons who do the most works, are the last to glory in 
them ; while, on the contrary, they who do the least, are inclined 
to glory the most. Those persons who had done nothing, are 
yet amazed when charged with neglect. What blindness is there 
in the heart of man, that he cannot know his own character ! 
Many live and die in utter ignorance of themselves — destitute of 
that faith that worketh by love, and therefore, of all the fruits of 
holiness. Are we bringing forth the fruits of faith in our fives; 
and if not, can we imagine that we have faith ? This chapter 
proves that such cannot be. Faith will work wherever it exists. 
Do you wish to bring forth these fruits of holiness ? Ask the 
Lord Jesus to give you faith, and the works will inevitably fol- 



134 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxvi. 1—25. 

low ; but it would be as idle to expect to produce these works 
before faith is bestowed on you, as to hope to reap corn in your 
field, before the seed is sown. 

One observation more demands our attention : " The righ- 
teous inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the founda- 
tion of the world " — the unrighteous are sent to a place, " pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels." Hell was prepared for the 
devil : but when men do the deeds of the devil, and follow his 
ways, the place of the devil must be their future portion. The 
Lord Jesus, who came to destroy the works of the devil, can 
alone dehver us from such a state, by grafting in our hearts the 
love of his name, so that Satan's ways may be hateful to us, and 
the path of holiness our chief delight. 

Note. — Gresswell has taken great pains to prove that the nations here mentioned 
as judged by Christ were the heathen or those without revelation, (see vol. v. 
part i. p. 571, &c. on the parables,) and Melville has followed the same exposi- 
tions. In the above exposition " the nations " are supposed to belong to Christen- 
dom ; and this view I believe to be correct. 



CHAP. XXVI. 1—25. 

THE LAST PASSOVER A WOMAN ANOINTS CHRISt's FEET JUDAS AGREES 

TO BETRAY HIM. 

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto 
his disciples. Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and 
the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the 
chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace 
of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they 
might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the 
feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Now when Jesus was 
in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. There came unto him a wo- 
man having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on 
his head as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indig- 
nation, saying. To what purpose is this waste 1 For this ointment might 
have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood 
it, he said unto them, "Why trouble ye the woman ? for she hath wrought 
a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always vrith you ; but me ye 
have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, 
she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, "Wlieresoever this gospel 
shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman 
hath done, be told for a memorial of her. Then one of the twelve, called 
Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests. And said unto them, What vdll 
ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you ? And they covenanted with 
him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity 
to betray him. Now the first day o^i\\Q. feast 0/ unleavened bread the dis- 
ciples came to Jesus, saying unto him. Where wilt thou that we prepare 
for thee to eat the Passover ? And he said, Go into the city to such a 



CHAP. XXVI. 1—25.] S. MATTHEW. 135 

man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand ; I will 
keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did 
as Jesus had appointed them ; and they made ready the passover. Now 
when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did 
eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And 
they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto 
him. Lord, is it I ? And he answered and said. He that dippcth his hand 
with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as 
it is written of him : but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is 
betrayed ! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then 
Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said. Master, is it I ? He said 
unto him. Thou hast said. 

When Jesus had made an end of all these important discourses, 
he reminded his disciples that on the approaching passover, 
within two or three days, he (the Messiah) should be betrayed 
into the hands of the Jewish rulers, who would deliver him up 
to the Roman power to be crucified, they having no power with- 
in themselves to put any one to death ; and accordingly we find 
a general council of them, consisting of priests, doctors, and 
elders, with the high priest their president, consulting how they 
might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. The time when this 
conspiracy was formed, was the time of the passover — a feast 
instituted in Egypt, to commemorate the destroying Angel's 
passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he slew the first- 
born of the Egyptians.* At first the chief priests did not incline 
to take Jesus at this feast, fearing a tumult and uproar of the 
people ; but Judas presenting them with a fair opportunity, they 
changed their purpose ; and, accordingly, at the feast of the 
passover, our Saviour suff'ered, signifying thereby, that he was 
the true Lamb of God, whom the paschal lamb typified ; and a 
beautiful and most comforting type this is ; for as surely as the 
destroying angel passed over the houses of the Israelites, which 
were marked with the blood of the Lamb, and did not slay any 
of their first-born, so surely shall all who are sprinkled with the 
blood of Christ be accepted in the great day ; their transgres- 
sions shall be " blotted out as a thick cloud." — " Blessed indeed 
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are 
covered." 

We next read of a certain woman coming to our Saviour as 
he sat at meat, bringing with her some very costly ointment 
which she poured over his head, in testimony of her love for 
him. We find in St. John's Gospel, that Judas t was the first to 

* See Exod. xii. t .John xii. i, 5. 



136 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxvi. 1—25. 

murmur at the work of this pious woman — the other disciples 
seem to have caug-ht his evil feelings for a time. He seemed to 
regret that there was such a waste made of the ointment. How 
often does a covetous heart wish to stint the offerings which 
should be made to the Lord ; and how often do worldly persons 
consider those things as wasted, which Christians devote to the 
service of their Redeemer. They scruple not to spend sums of 
money and to expend many precious hours, on trifles, while they 
exclaim against the Christian if he employs what God has lent 
him in the promotion of the Gospel, or if his time be redeemed 
from idle conversation, or society, for the purpose of private 
prayer. " To what purpose," say they, " is this waste ? " Happy 
they who are so far from considering time and talents as wasted 
upon religion, that the occupations which attend it, are the joy 
and solace of their hearts. The time of our Lord's death now 
drew near, and by the grateful act of this woman, his body had, 
in a manner, been embalmed, for the perfume of the ointment 
did not leave him, till that body was laid in the tomb. 

And now Satan's rage and man's atrocity, had reached their 
summit, when Judas yielded to the horrid temptation of betray- 
ing his Lord and Master. Some may inquire what the particu- 
lar motive was, that led Judas to commit so base a crime : cove- 
tousness was evidently the spring, for we do not find that he had 
any particular malice against Christ at first ; but a base and un- 
worthy spirit of covetousness possessed him to sell his Master ; 
how small a sum tempted the covetous mind of Judas ! " thirty 
pieces of silver," or less than four pounds of our money. This 
was the price of a slave, or common servant.* Christ " took 
upon him the form of a servant," so his life was valued at the 
rate of a servant's life. It may seem a wonder, that the high 
priests should offer so little for the life of our Saviour, and that 
Judas should accept so small a sum, seeing that his covetousness 
was so great, and their rage so dreadful. But the Scripture 
must be fulfilled, and the prophecy exactly came to pass. " They 
weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver." f Let none of us 
be concerned if we should be despised and undervalued for being 
the disciples of Jesus : we can never meet with so great a re- 
proach — so low an abasement for Christ, as he submitted to 
for us. 

The time of the passover being at hand, Jesus sends two of 
his disciples to Jerusalem, to prepare for it — accordingly they 

* Exod. xxi. 32. t Zech. xi. 12. 



I 



CHAi'. XXVI. 26—46.] S. MATTHEW. 137 

enter into the city, and find the master of an house, whose heart 
Christ had, by divine power, so inclined, that he wilhngly ac- 
commodated them upon this occasion. Christ has such an in- 
fluence upon, and command over, the spirits of men, that he can 
inchne them to do what service soever he pleases for him. May 
he now incline our hearts fully to receive this blessed Gospel of 
peace. 

When Christ was at supper with his disciples, he saith to 
them, " one of you shall betray me." Their sorrow was exceed- 
ing great at hearing that their Master should suffer, and that the 
traitor should be one of themselves. It caused each of them to 
search himself, and say, " Master, is it I?" Every one who 
barters religion for the sake of worldly pleasure or prosperity, 
is a traitor to Christ. Do not look round on others with suspi- 
cion, but suspect yourself, and say, " Master, is it I ? " Say it too 
with a determination of removing the traitor-lust, or sin, or pro- 
pensity, of which conscience accuses you. We ought to be the 
more earnest in such examination as this, because the doom of 
those who indulge in opposition to conscience, will be most 
heavy. What heart can conceive the awful and tremendous im- 
port of these words, " It had been good for that man, if he had 
not been born ! " 

Note v. 2'S. — rpvexiov, a dish in which food, particularly of the more liquid kind, 
is brought to table. The Moors and Arabs, in eating pottage, break their 
bread or cakes into little bits {ipufjua sops) and dip their hands and their 
morsels together therein. — Parkhurst. 



CHAP. XXYI. 26—46. 



THE LORD S SUPPER INSTITUTED CHRIST S SORROW IN GETHSEMANE. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and 
gave it to the disciples, and said. Take, eat ; this is my body. And he 
took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all 
of it ; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many 
for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth 
of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my 
Father's kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into 
the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them. All ye shall be offended 
because of me this night : for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and 
. the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen 
again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, 
Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be 
offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily 1 say unto thee, That this night, 
before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, 



138 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxvi. 26—46. 

Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also 
said all the disciples. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called 
Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples. Sit ye here, while I go and pray 
yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and 
began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them. My soul 
is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry ye here, and watch with 
me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me : nevertheless, 
not as I will, but as thou ivilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and 
findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with 
me one hour ? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the 
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the 
second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass 
away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and foimd 
them asleep again : for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and 
went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then 
cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take 
your rest : behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed 
into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going : behold, he is at hand 
that doth betray me. 

Immediately after the celebration of the passover, and while 
yet sitting at the table, our Lord instituted that Sacrament 
which was to keep up a continual remembrance of his death, till 
his coming again. The Lamb slain at the passover, we have 
already seen, was a type of Christ, but when the person typified 
did come, the type was no longer of use. The passover, there- 
fore, was now to cease, and as a substitute for it, the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper was instituted. The Jewish passover was 
commemorative, and prospective : commemorative — as it recalled 
to memory the miraculous deliverance of the Jews in Egypt, by 
the marking of their doors with the blood of a lamb ; prospective 
— as it looked forward to the time when Christ, the Lamb of 
God, should shed his blood for the safety and deliverance of his 
people. Of the same nature is the Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper ; it reminds Christians that they should look back at 
what Jesus had done, and look forward to that season with joy- 
ful hope, when he shall " appear the second time, without sin, 
unto salvation." * There is something very expressive in the 
words of the insitution, " Jesus took bread and blessed it, and 
brake it — and gave it to the disciples, and said. Take, eat ; this 
is my body." The bread was a fit emblem of Him, who is 
our life and sustenance. When Jesus blessed it, he set it apart 
from common uses, and when he brake it, he significantly set 
forth the bruising of his own body for our sins. He calls the 

* Heb. ix. 28. 



CHAP. XXVI. 26—46.] S. MATTHEW. 189 

bread his body, and the wine he calls his blood — because it is 
usual to call the sign and the thing signified by the same name 
— " And that rock was Christ.'' And so " in eating and 
drinking we signify the body and blood which were offered for 
us — You receive the Sacrament as a similitude — it is the figure 
of the body and blood of the Lord — You drink the similitude 
of the precious blood." * To suppose that the bread was 
changed into real flesh, and the wine into real blood, is to 
destroy the very nature of a Sacrament — which must have both 
a sign and a thing signified — whilst it leads to a carnal and not 
a spiritual Communion. We are indeed taught to pray *' that 
we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according 
to thy Son our Saviour's holy institution, in remembrance of 
his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed 
body and blood." In this sense we hold a real presence in the 
Lord's Supper — but then it is only vouchsafed to faith. All 
receive the outward emblem, the believer only receives the body 
and blood of Christ — because he " feeds on him in his heart by 
faith with thanksgiving." And in this view there can be no 
doubt, the Lord's Supper is the highest means of grace — the 
channel of largest blessing to the soul quickened by the Spirit. 
Are you of the number of Christ's people ? If so, you will 
rejoice at the celebration of that feast. You will go to it as a 
real means of grace ; where you may expect to feed on Christ in 
your heart by faith, whilst the scene of the Redeemer's last suf- 
ferings will be pictured to your mind. The narrative of his 
agony in the garden will cause you to ask — why must the Son 
of God have thus suffered ? and there is but one true answer — 
our sins put this bitter cup into his hands, and caused him all 
this exceeding bitterness of soul. 

We should all remember that nothing but the inconceivable 
pains and sufferings of the Son of God, could have atoned for 
sin. What a view does this give us of the exceeding sinfulness 
of sin, and of the unbending justice of God ! Sin is made little 
of by worldly persons ; but see here what an evil and bitter 
thing it is, and how it tried all the patience of the Redeemer, 
when he was to bear the load of it, and offer himself to the 
stroke of divine vengeance. What grief and sorrow must have 
oppressed the Saviour in Gethsemane — when he uttered those 
mysterious words, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto 
death." What was it, what could it be, O Saviour, that lay 

* Ambrose on the Sacraments, lib. iv. c. 4. 



140 S. MATTHEW. [chap. xxvi. 2G— 40. 

thus heavy upon thy divine soul ? Was it the fear of death ? 
Was it the fore-felt pain, shame, and torment of thy ensuing 
crucifixion ? O poor and base thoughts of the narrow hearts 
of cowardly and impotent mortahty ! How many thousands of 
thy blessed martyrs have welcomed no less tortures with smiles 
and gratulations ! Whence had they their strength but from 
thee ? If their weakness were thus undaunted and prevalent, 
what was thy power ? No, no, it was the sad weight of the 
sin of mankind — it was the heavy burden of the Father's wrath 
for our sin, that thus pressed thy soul and wrung from thee 
these bitter expressions.* Our sins were imputed to him that 
he might suffer what we should have suffered, and feel the whole 
weight of God's vengeance, in his soul and body.f There is 
here a force of instruction, equal to the voice of a thousand 
tongues, to warn us of our danger — of the curse which cleaves 
to us for sin — and the horrible unknown pains we must endure, 
if we are not now made partakers of the merits of Christ, and 
created anew after his image of holiness, by the regenerating 
Spirit of God. Let us not mistake nor build upon any false 
foundation. Christ is that rock, on which if we build our hea- 
venly house, we shall be safe, but every thing except Christ, 
is sand. 

Note v. 4-5. — If instead of reading this verse, " Sleep on now, " as in the autho- 
rized translation, we read it interrogatively — " Do ye sleep on now 1" we seem 
to have the whole subject before us in the clearest light. 



CHAP. XXVI. 47—75. 



CHRIST BETRAYED BV JUDAS CARRIED TO CAIAPHAS AND DENIED BY PETER. 

And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a 
great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders 
of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying. 
Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he ; hold him fast. And forthwith 
he came to Jesus, and said. Hail, master ; and kissed him. And Jesus 
said unto him. Friend, wherefore art thou come ? Then came they, and 
laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were 
with Jesus stretched out his hand, and di'ew his sword, and struck a servant 
of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, 
Put up again thy sword into his place : for all they that take the sword 
shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my 
Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels ? 
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it nmst be ? In 
that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes. Are ye come out as against a 

* Bishop Hall's Contemplations, book iv. con. xxviii. t 2 Cor. v. 21. 



CHAP. XXVI. 47—75.] S. MATTHEW. 141 

thief, with swords and staves for to take me .'' I sat daily with you teach- 
ing in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that 
the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples 
forsook him, and fled. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away 
to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were 
assembled. But Peter followed him afar ofF unto the high priest's palace, 
and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end . Now the chief priests, 
and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put 
him to death ; But found none : yea, though many false witnesses came, yet 
found they none. At the last came two false vsitnesses. And said, This 
follow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three 
days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou 
nothing? what is it which these witness against thee ? But Jesus held his 
peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by 
the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of 
God. Jesus saith unto him. Thou hast said : nevertheless I say unto you, 
Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, 
and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, 
saying. He hath spoken blasphemy ; what further need have we of witnesses ? 
behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye } They 
answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, 
and buffeted him ; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 
Sajnng, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee ? Now 
Peter sat without in the palace : and a damsel came unto him, saying. 
Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, say- 
ing, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the 
porch, another ynuid saw him, and said unto them that were there. This 
fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, 
I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood 
by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them ; for thy speech 
bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not 
the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the 
word of Jesus, which said unto him. Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny 
me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. 

These verses contain a particular account of the manner in 
which the traitor Judas effected his purpose of dehvering up 
Jesus into the hands of his enemies. Having obtained an armed 
multitude, he became their guide, for without his assistance, they 
could not have found Jesus in his retirement. As commander 
of the party, Judas gave them a sign, or signal, lest another 
should be seized in mistake : the Jews might have known him, 
but the Roman soldiers who were employed, needed the signal. 
" Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he, hold him fast." 
What a dissembling compliment ! He comes close to Jesus : 
surely if ever his hard heart relents, it will be now, when he 
looks the Saviour in the face ; he will either be awed by the 
majesty, or charmed by the sweetness of his countenance. But 
he is proof against all compunction ; he comes to him, and says, 
" Hail ! master! and kissed him." Was ever heart so possessed 



142 S.MATTHEW. [chap. xxvi. 47— 75. 

by Satan ? Was ever suffering so aggravated as Christ's ? The 
first that appeared among his enemies, was one of those disciples, 
who, but an hour or two before, sat at the table, and took bread 
with him ! and then were the words of the inspired Psalmist ful- 
filled — " Yea, mine own famihar friend in whom I trusted, which 
did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." * Are 
there none in the present day, who, hke Judas, sell the Saviour? 
Yes, all those who for the sake of wealth, power, or pleasure, re- 
nounce Christ, his word, and his people. Such persons virtually 
sell the Saviour, for those gratifications in which they indulge. 
Behold the forbearance of Christ in all his sufferings ! He 
who had all the power of heaven at command — he who could 
summon the heavenly host, and take signal vengeance of his 
enemies, is yet patient and submissive. Why was all this ? Be- 
cause " the Scripture must needs be fulfilled," and " thus it 
became him to fulfil all righteousness." The Prophet Isaiah had 
said, seven hundred years before, " He was oppressed, and he 
was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth ; he is brought as a 
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is 
dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." t How fully was this 
accomphshed, when, summoned before the bar of the chief 
priests and elders, he manifested his innocence by perfect silence. 
They accused him, but when their accusations failed, and were 
unsupported by proper testimony, they shamelessly hired false 
witnesses, who, by perjury, might further their base design of 
murder : still, " Jesus held his peace " — a significant expression 
to denote his peaceful silence. The question is put to Jesus — 
" Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God ? " — 
Though silent before, yet when pointedly addressed, he replies, 
in words, which signify — " I am the Christ, the Son of God ;'' 
and when his lips had once broken silence, he proceeds to tell 
his impious judges, that he should yet change places with them 
— that they should yet behold Him coming in the clouds of 
heaven — He, the Judge, and they, culprits at his bar. This 
solemn address to the chief priest raised his rage to the 
highest ; he said, " he hath spoken blasphemy, what farther 
need have we of witnesses ? " Then did the people, by heap- 
ing insults upon him, unconsciously fulfil the prophecy of 
Isaiah, " I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them 
that plucked off the hair ; I hid not my face from shame and 
spitting." t 

* Psalm xli. 9. t Isaiah liii. 7. t Isaiah 1. H. 



I 



CHAP. XXVII. 1— 2o.] S. MATTHEW. 143 

How, it may be asked, did the disciples of Jesus behave on 
this trying occasion ? Where were the fruits of Peter's boast- 
ing — " Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee ; 
likewise also said all the disciples ? " Alas ! what is man when 
left to himself, and how great is the dread which one sinful worm 
has of another ! " All the disciples forsook him and fled ; " and 
Peter thrice denies, yea, with oaths and cursing too, that he was 
ever acquainted with Jesus. Peter had before this, *' followed 
afar off." Let Christians dread the first symptoms of a coldness 
in the service of Christ ; it may lead, by gradual steps, to a de- 
parture from his authority. This indeed will be a temporary 
falling away — the Lord will not cast them off" now, nor break 
that covenant which he has made witTi them for Christ ; but he 
will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with 
stripes,* — so that by acute and painful trials, shall they be ob- 
hged to retrace their steps, till driven again into the narrow 
path of holy obedience. Let not Peter's shameful fall be an en- 
couragement, on the one hand, for any to indulge in sin, nor on 
the other, to despair of pardon, if a sudden temptation has led 
them into sin. It cost Peter many a tear — not to wash out his 
sin, for a sea of tears could not effect that ; but they were tears 
of self-abhorrence and remorse, at the recollection of such base 
ingratitude. 



CHAP. XXVn. 1—25. 

CHRIST DELIVERED TO PONTIUS PILATE JUDAS HANGETH HIMSELF PILATE 

ANXIOUS TO RELEASE JESUS. 

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people 
took counsel against Jesus to put him to death : And when they had 
hound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the 
governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he 
was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of 
silver to the chief priests and elders, Sapng, I have sinned in that I have 
betrayed the innocent blood. And they said. What is that to us ? see thou 
to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, 
and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, 
and said. It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is 
the price of blood. And they took coimsel, and bought with them the 
potter's field, to bury strangers in. WTierefore that field was called. The 
field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken 
by Jeremy the prophet, sajnng. And they took the thirty pieces of silver, 
the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel 

* Psalm Ixxxix. 30—33. 



144 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxvii. l-2.'5. 

did value ; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. 
And Jesus stood before the governor : and the governor asked him, say- 
ing, Art thou the King of the Jews ? And Jesus said unto him. Thou 
sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, lie 
answered nothing. Then said Pilate vuito him, Hearest thou not how many 
things they witness against thee ? And lie answered him to never a word: 
insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the 
governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when 
they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Wliom will ye that 
I release unto you ? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ .'' For he 
knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on 
the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to 
do with that just man : for I have suffered many things this day in a dream 
because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multi- 
tude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor 
answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release 
unto you? They said Barabbas. Pilate saitli unto them, What shall I 
do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him. Let 
him be crucified. And the governor said. Why what e\il hath he done ? 
But they cried out the more, saying, Let him lie crucified. When Pilate 
saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he 
took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am 
innocent of the blood of this just person : see ye to it. Then answered all 
the people, and said. His blood be on us, and on our children. 

" When the morning was come " — the morning of the gloomiest 
day for Christ, but the happiest day that ever dawned, for us — 
the chief priests and elders held another council, and then de- 
termined to hand over Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman go- 
vernor, for the Jews had then no power of capital punishment, 
as the sceptre had departed from them. 

The death of the unhappy Judas is here related ; he repented, 
i. e. he saw what a crime he had committed, and was sorry for 
it, but it was not a repentance towards God, or he would not 
have hanged himself. A mere sense of sin, without a conse- 
quent turning to God, is not repentance, but rather produces 
that " sorrow of the world " which " worketh death." * He took 
back the money to the chief priests, as if their taking it off his 
hands, would have removed his guilt ; but they refused it ; and 
mark their answer to his professions of sorrow, " What is that to 
us ? see thou to that." This is all the comfort that the devil and 
ungodly friends will give, after they have enticed you to sin. 
Their company may be pleasant, when health permits you to 
share in their amusements or excesses ; but when the hour of 
sickness comes, or when you are suffering under the goading of 

* 2 Cor. vii. 10. 



CHAP. xxviT. 1-25.] S.MATTHEW. 145 

an awakened conscience, you will find them miserable com- 
forters. 

What sanctified villainy did these chief priests manifest ! tTiey 
would not receive back the money from Judas, as if it were a 
violation of their conscience to take the price of blood, forgetting 
that this very money had been paid by themselves, as hire, to 
the traitor Judas. This truly was " straining at a gnat, and 
swallowing a camel." Further, they thought to atone for their 
crime, by an act of humanity, for they expended the money 
which Judas threw before them, in the purchase of a public 
burying- ground, for strangers. Such a vain idea as this once 
prevailed in our own country, when persons imagined that by 
the building of churches, and endowment of monasteries, they 
might so gain the favour of God, that he would overlook, and 
pardon their immoralities ; but now that the word of God is 
more widely disseminated, such absurdities are less frequent, and 
the truth is made more manifest, that nothing can remove sin 
but the atoning blood of Jesus. 

It was no small aggravation of the sin of the Jews, that Pon- 
tius Pilate, a heathen magistrate, should have laboured to release 
Jesus. His wife, too, sent to dissuade him from being a party 
to his death ; and so convinced was Pilate of his innocence, that 
he endeavoured to show, by the washing of his hands, that he 
was clear from the guilt of his murder. But this was a vain 
idea, to protest that he was innocent of his blood, while he did 
not use his authority to protect him. What men allow and 
practise, must ever be considered as a voluntary act. The 
priests and people were so infuriate, that they erred in another 
point, and thought that they could transfer the guilt from Pilate 
to themselves ; they said, " His blood be on us, and on our 
children." They made Pilate believe that by their becoming 
bound to divine justice, they could save him from guilt. But 
those who are themselves bankrupts, cannot be admitted, as 
security for others. No man can answer to God for his brother, 
but he who has no sin of his own to answer for. Blessed be God, 
we have one who can answer for us — that very Jesus wdiom we 
read of; " He did no sin," and by virtue of his atoning sacrifice 
he can stop the arm of divine justice, uplifted against any of us, 
and say — " his guilt be upon me," " deliver him from going 
down to the pit, for I have found a ransom." But what mad- 
ness must have filled the minds of those who cried out for the 
blood of Jesus to light in vengeance upon them, and what still 
greater barbarity, to entail the same misery on their children ! 

VOL. I. L 



14G S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxvii. 20— (>(J. 

They cursed themselves, and God in heaven ratified it, for, from 
that time to the present, the Jews have been suffering the signal 
displeasure of the Almighty, by a succession of such calamities 
as no other nation ever endured. They are living witnesses of 
that truth which they wished to disprove, that Jesus is the Son 
of God. Let those who are in the habit of calling down the 
curse of God upon themselves, or on others, beware lest their 
impious prayers be in like manner confirmed, and fall in ven- 
geance upon their own heads. 

Note on V. 9. — It was not Jeremiah, but Zechariah (chap. xi. 12, 13,) who 
predicted that Messiah should be sold for the small price of thirty pieces of 
silver. Why then does St. Matthew attribute it to Jeremiah ? The usual reply 
seems the best, — most likely some ignorant transcriber inserted it in an ancient 
manuscript, and that before that, it was only, " by the prophet." Beza says 
that the Syriac paraphrase does not mention the name of any prophet, and 
that this confirmed him in holding the above conjecture. 



CHAP. XXVII. 26—66. 

CHRIST IS MOCKED BEARS HIS OWN CROSS IS LED TO GOLGOTHA AND 

CRUCIFIED HIS BURIAL. 

Then released he Barabbas unto them : and when he had scourged Jesus, he 
delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus 
into the common-hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they 
had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his 
right hand : and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, 
Hail, king of the Jews ! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, 
and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they 
took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him 
away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, 
Simon by name : him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they 
were come unto a place, called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull. 
They gave him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall : and when he had 
tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted 
his garments, casting lots : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by 
the prophet. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture 
did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there ; and set 
up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING 
OF THE JEWS, Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on 
the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by re- 
viled him, wagging their heads. And saying. Thou that destroyest the 
temple, and bulkiest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of 
God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking 
him, with the scribes and elders, said. He saved others ; himself he cannot 
save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, 
and we will believe him. He trusted in God : let him deliver him now, if 
he will have him : for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also. 



cuAP. XXVII. 26—0(1] S. MATTHEW. 147 

which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the 
sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And 
about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama 
sabachthani .'' that is to say. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me } Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This 
man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, 
and filled it with ^-iuegar, and put it ou a reed, and gave him to drink. 
The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the 
bottom ; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent ; And the graves 
were opened ; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came 
out of the graves after his resm-rection, and went into the holy city, and 
appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with 
lum, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were 
done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And 
many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from 
Gahlee, ministermg unto him : Among which was Mary Magdalene, and 
Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. 
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathfea, named 
Joseph, who also liimself was Jesus' disciple : He went to Pilate, and 
begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be de- 
livered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean 
linen cloth ; And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out 
in the rock ; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and 
departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting 
over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the day of 
the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate. 
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive. 
After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre 
be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal 
him away, and say unto the people. He is risen from the dead : so the 
last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have 
a watch : go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and 
made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. 

The sentence of death being passed by Pilate, the Roman sol- 
diers proceed to heap indignities upon the suffering Jesus. He 
whose Palace would soon be the Heavens, is now conveyed " to 
the common Hall." He whose brow would soon be encircled 
with the Victor's crown, is now lacerated with a thorny wreath ; 
and Jesus patiently submits, while the soldiers amuse themselves 
by decking him with the mock insignia of royalty. Who can, 
without emotion, behold the sad pomp of his bloody execution ! 
He comes forth, bearing that cross which was soon to bear him, 
and after easing him from this load, which it is probable they 
found him unable to sustain, they laid it upon Simon a Cyrenian, 
and thus marched to Golgotha, the place of execution. And 
here let it be remarked what a number of prophecies were ful- 
filled on this memorable day ; some which had been uttered 

L 2 



]i8 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxvii. 2G— GG. 

seven hundred, others, above one thousand years before. It 
had been foretold that he should be scourged * — that he should 
be crucified f — that they should part his garments, and cast lots 
upon his vesture J — that his side should be pierced § — that he 
should die with malefactors, and have his grave with the rich. || 
Each prophecy we have just read, was exactly fulfilled, and thus 
the divine authority of those several books which contain the 
prophecies, was established, while, at the same time, it was 
abundantly proved that Jesus was the true Messiah, because all 
the circumstances of his death accorded with what those prophets 
had so long before described ; and yet so blind were the Jews, 
that they would not see the fulfilment of prophecy — nay, even 
the centurion who guarded him, was sooner convinced than they, 
for the events which accompanied his death were so remarkable, 
that he exclaimed, "truly this was the Son of God." The 
frame of nature solemnized the death of its author. Heaven 
and earth were mourners. The sun was clad in black ; and if 
the inhabitants of the earth were unmoved, the earth itself trem- 
bled under the awful load : there were few to pay the Jewish 
compliment of rending their garments, but the rocks were not 
so insensible — they rent their bowels : he had not a grave of his 
own, but other men's graves opened to him. Death and the 
grave might be proud of such a tenant in their territories ; but 
he came not there as a subject — he came as an invader — a con- 
queror : it was then the king of terror lost his sting. 

Let us now turn aside and see this great sight — the Son of God 
extended on a Cross. Let our imagination paint the scene — 
the horror of that darkness — the terror of the earthquake — the 
gloom of the Saviour's mind, when that expression was extorted 
from his lips,' " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ! " Behold the Mediator betwixt God and man — the re- 
conciler of heaven and earth lifted up between earth and heaven 
that he might bring both into union. Behold the great Captain 
of our salvation, the conqueror of all the powers of hell, exalted 
upon this triumphal chariot of the Cross, that he might trample 
upon death and drag all the infernal principalities manacled after 
him. Those arms which his enemies meant violently to extend, 
are stretched forth for the embracing of all mankind, who shall 
come in for the benefit of his all-sufficient redemption.^ Be- 
hold here, in darkest colours, the awful justice of God, 

* Isaiah 1. G. t Psalm xxii. 14, 17. X Psalm xxii. 18. 

§ Zech. xii. 10. (j Isaiah liii. 9. 

^ Bishop Hall's Contemplation, xxxii. b. iv. 



CHAP. XXVII. 26—66.] S. MATTHEW. 149 

which could be satisfied with no less a sacrifice ; behold, 
in brightest colours, the amazing love of Jesus, who yielded 
himself up a wiUing sacrifice for the sins of his people. Let un- 
godly sinners here learn what weight of vengeance shall fall 
upon them, if they obtain not an interest in what Jesus has 
done and suffered ; let the redeemed of the Lord here learn 
lessons of love, gratitude, and hatred of sin ; let them weep 
before the Cross, while they behold mercy's streams, in streams 
of blood. 

Jesus now yields up the ghost : nature sinks, not under the 
weight of bodily sufferings, for the thieves who were crucified 
with .him were still alive, but under the inexpressible load of 
mental agony. The veil, or curtain, in the temple which con- 
cealed the Holy of Holies from public view, was now miracu- 
lously torn from top to bottom, so that the place which the high 
priest alone might visit, and that but once a year, was now fully 
exposed, thus to show that the way into the Holiest was open 
to all believers by the rent veil of his flesh.* 

The chapter concludes with an account of our Lord's burial ; 
and here we may ask — what benefit comes to us from his re- 
maining in the grave until the third day. We reply — much 
every way. It shews us the amazing depth of his humiliation, 
from what and to what his love brought him — even from the 
bosom of his Father to the bosom of the grave. It may also 
comfort us against the fears of death — the grave could not long 
keep Christ-^it shall not always keep us — it was a loathsome 
prison before, it is a perfumed bed now — he whose head is in 
heaven, need not fear to put his feet into the grave. Awake 
and sing, thou that dwellest in the dust, for the enmity of the 
grave is slain by Christ. f 

It would seem, however, as if all the hopes of his followers 
were buried with him, for " as yet they knew not the Scrip- 
tures, that he must rise again from the dead." But though 
" sorrow may endure for anight, joy cometh in the morning." 
We shall soon hear of his glorious resurrection. If artful priests 
and vahant soldiers could have confined the Saviour in the tomb, 
they would have done so ; they suspected some attempt to re- 
move him, and every precaution was used to prevent it. They 
obtained a guard from Pilate, because " the deceiver," as they 
called Jesus, had said he would rise again. Let us turn this 
against them, and use it for our own benefit ; if jesus did rise, 

* See Heb. ix. "■ and x. 19, 20. t Burkctt's nofcs on John xix, 42. 



S. MATTHEW. [chai 



XXV] 



THEN WAS HE NOT A DECEIVER. This we shall find abun- 
dantly proved in the next chapter. 

Note on v. 53. — Melancthon supposes that the saints Avho rose after Christ's 
resurrection, were Adam, Noah and the most ancient patriarchs. This is mere 
conjecture. They were witnesses to Christ's resurrection, but with loliat bodies 
they rose, and how long they remained, cannot be found out, and " it is a vain 
curiosity to labour in a thing not necessary to be known." — See Marlorate 
in loco. 



CHAP. XXVIII. 



CHRIST S RESURRECTION HE APPEARS TO THE WOMEN IMPORTANCE OF THIS 

DOCTRINE. 

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the 
week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 
And, behold, there was a great earthquake : for the angel of the Lord 
descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, 
and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white 
as snow : And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead 
men. And the angel answered and said unto the women. Fear not ye : 
for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here : for 
he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And 
go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead ; and, be- 
hold, he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him : lo, I have 
told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and 
great joy ; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to 
tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they 
came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus 
unto them. Be not afraid : go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, 
and there shall they see me. Now when they were going, behold, some 
of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the 
things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and 
had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers. Saying, Say ye. 
His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if 
this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 
So they took the money, and did as they were taught : and tliis saying is 
commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Then the eleven dis- 
ciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed 
them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying. All power is given unto me 
in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost : 
Teaching them to observe all things Avhatsoever I have commanded you : 
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, those 
women who were last at the Cross, came first to the tomb of the 
Lord Jesus ; and what must have been their surprise to find that 
the sealed stone, wliich covered the mouth of tlic sepulchre, had 



CHAP. XXVIII.] S. MATTHEW. 151 

been removed ! St. Matthew relates how this occurred ; " The 
Angel of the Lord descended, and rolled back the stone ;" the 
guard of Koraan soldiers, whose stout hearts would have yielded 
to no common danger, " did shake, and they became as dead 
men," while the women were enabled, fearlessly, to converse 
with the angel, and to receive from his lips the welcome news 
that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were then employed, 
as messengers, to proclaim the glad tidings to the apostles, and 
to state the appointed place where Jesus would meet them. 
While going on this errand, the Saviour manifested himself to 
them, so that their testimony might be added to the truth of his 
resurrection. 

A few arguments for this important doctrine of our faith, may 
here, with propriety be stated. It is a fact admitted by all, 
that the body of Jesus was laid in the tomb ; of this there can 
be no doubt, for the chief priests would not have set a guard of 
soldiers, to watch an empty sepulchre. It is also an admitted 
fact, that on the third day, the body was not to be found in the 
tomb ; the question then is — what became of it ? The chief 
priests would tell us that it was stolen ; but we have abundant 
evidence to prove that Jesus rose from the dead. If the body 
was removed, who stole it ? was it the enemies of Christ ? no — 
it was their great object to keep him in the tomb. Was it the 
disciples ? it is probable they would not, and it is next to certain 
that they could not : frail and timorous as they were — who, when 
they saw him taken prisoner — ^fled, and deserted him ; is it pro- 
bable that they would have attempted to overcome a band of 
Roman soldiers who were armed, and aware of danger ? But it 
is asserted that the soldiers slept on their post, and that the dis- 
ciples seized this opportunity of conveying the body away. No 
one could have given evidence on this point, but the soldiers 
themselves ; and we see how ill contrived are the schemes of 
wicked men, when the chief priests brought forward those sol- 
diers, to prove what happened while they were asleep. These 
soldiers were either asleep or awake ; if they were awake, they 
never would have suffered a few timorous men to overpower 
them ; if they were asleep, they could know nothing of what 
happened, so that by their own testimony, the whole was a base 
fabrication, in order to get over the stubborn fact, that Jesus 
rose from the dead. 

The necessity for the resurrection may next be considered. 
Had- Jesus remained in the grave, all his previous work would 
have gone for nothing, for we should have no evidence that his 



152 S. MATTHEW. [chap, xxviii. 

atonement was accepted.* He put himself in his people's place, 
to answer the demands due to the justice of God, on their ac- 
count. If any person should offer to discharge the debts of 
another, and should submit to confinement in his stead, as long 
as he was actually in jail, there would be no proof that the other 
man's creditor was satisfied ; nay, the circumstance of his being 
detained, would prove that the amount due, was not paid : but 
if the creditor himself were to throw open the prison doors, and 
release the prisoner, his friend for whom he was surety, would 
have proof beyond doubt, that his creditor was fully satisfied. 
Thus was it with Jesus, who was his people's substitute : had he 
remained in the tomb, endless doubt must have existed, as to 
the validity of his atonement ; but since God's own hand re- 
moved the stone, and released the prisoner, his people may rejoice 
in the assurance, that the work which he undertook, has been 
fully accomplished by him, and accepted by God in their behalf f 

Let it now be remembered, that every one who is a true ser- 
vant of Christ, experiences, spiritually, in his soul, what Christ 
literally underwent in his body. Was Christ crucified, dead and 
buried ? The believer has an old, corrupt nature, which is cru- 
cified and mortified ; so that he becomes " dead unto sin." Was 
Christ raised from the dead ? The believer rises from a death 
in sin — becomes " alive unto God," and " walks in newness of 
life. "J None who are without this death unto sin, and new birth 
unto righteousness, have any lot or part, in what Jesus has done. 

Our Lord's last words to his disciples, previous to his ascen- 
sion, contain the institution of the sacrament of Baptism, which 
was to be administered in the name of the divine Trinity ; shew- 
ing that all Christians are dedicated to God in his covenant 
character, and that he alone, as Father, Redeemer, and Com- 
forter, can prepare us for his service on earth, and his kingdom 
in glory. He also gave the apostles a divine commission to 
preach the Gospel to the nations of the earth, with the gracious 
assurance that he would be with them to the end of the world ; 
a promise fulfilled to us in the possession of their inspired word, 
and in the continuance of that apostolic ministry, which derives 
all its authority from a due succession ; first, the apostles, — then 
the bishops and pastors of the early Church, by whom the 
ministry has been handed down, to the lawful pastors of the 
present day. If we value these means, we should endeavour that 
they be made known to other nations, who are in the same dark- 
ness as once enveloped our own land. 

. * 1 Cor. XV. 14—18. t Rom. iv. 24, 25. t Rom. vi. 5, 0, 11. 



THE GOSPEL 



ACCORDJNG TO 



St. mark. 



CHAP. I. 1—22. 



I 



THE OFFICE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST JESUS IS BAPTIZED AND TEMPTED HE 

CALLETH PETER, ANDREW, JAMES AND JOHN. 



The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God : x\s it is 
written in the prophets. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, 
which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the 
wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance 
for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of 
Judsea, aad they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river 
of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, 
and with a girdle of a skin about his loins ; and he did eat locusts and 
wild honey ; And preached, saying. There cometh one mightier than I 
after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and 
unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water ; but he shall baptize 
you with the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus 
came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 
And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and 
the Spirit like a dove descending upon him : And there came a voice from 
heaven, saying. Thou art my beloved Son, in whom lam well pleased. And 
immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was 
there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan ; and was with the wild 
beasts : and the angels ministered unto him. Now after that John was put 
in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom 
of God, And saying. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at 
hand : repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the sea of 
Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea : 
for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them. Come ye after me, and I 
will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook 
their nets and followed him. And when he had gone a little farther 



154 S. MARK. [chap. i. 1—22. 

thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also 
were m the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them : 
and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and 
went after him. And they went into Capernaum : and straightway on 
the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they 
were astonished at his doctrine : for he taught them as one that had 
authority, and not as the Scribes. 

Already have we heard the testimony which one inspired his- 
torian has given to the character, the doctrine, and the miracles 
of the Lord Jesus. The next who succeeds in this important 
and privileged office is St. Mark, who is believed to have been the 
same person who was " surnamed Mark," and to whose mother's 
house St. Peter retired when released by the angel from prison.* 
It is generally agreed, that this Gospel was written under the 
immediate inspection of the apostle Peter — a circumstance which 
makes the humility of that servant of God more conspicuous, 
since his denial of Christ is given more fully in this part of the 
Gospel history than in any other. St. Mark's introduction is 
somewhat singular ; for whilst other evangelists style our Sa- 
viour, " the Son of Man," he calls him expressly " the Son of 
God," a glorious title, and well suited to engage the attention 
of the Romans, for whose use this Gospel is supposed to have 
been compiled. With the same view, probably, he omits such 
particulars as might be of more use to his own countrymen than 
to foreigners : as the genealogy of Christ ; the massacre of the 
children at Bethlehem ; the account of Jesus' birth ; the sermon 
on the mount, which exposes the false morality of the Pharisees, 
to which the Gentiles were strangers ; and in general, the quo- 
tations of certain prophecies of the Old Testament. On the 
other hand, he adds some things for the sake of the Gentiles, to 
enable them to understand the history of Christ. A strong 
similarity will be found between this Gospel and St. Matthew's, 
but the coincidence seems to have arisen rather from the circum- 
stance of the two evangelists having written the history of the 
same grand and highly interesting events, than from any design 
in the one, of borrowing materials from the other. 

St. Mark entitles his history, " the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God," or, in other words, good news, concerning 
Jesus Christ. Happy are we if we are prepared by divine 
grace to welcome the Gospel ; and if the assembling of ourselves 
at family worship, to hear a portion of that Gospel read, be 

* See Acts xii. 12. 



CHAP. 1.1—22.] S. MARK. 155 

ranked among our many privileges, instead of being considered 
a tedious and wearisome task. God's service must be performed, 
"not by constraint, but willingly." If it be di forced work, it 
proves that our hearts are not in it, and God will accept nothing 
but what comes from the heart. 

The sacred writer proceeds with a brief account of John the 
Baptist, whose office was to prepare the people for the readier 
reception of the Messiah. The lowhness of John's character is 
peculiarly striking. He laboured to lead the people from attach- 
ing any importance to himself, and invariably turned their atten- 
tion to his Divine Master, as the object of their praise;* hereby 
leaving an example to all minister^ of the Gospel, who should 
overlook their own services, " and preach not themselves, but 
Christ Jesus the Lord." 

The baptism of our blessed Lord is again related in this Gos- 
pel,! as is also the circumstance of God the Father's accom- 
panying voice, bearing testimony to the divine mission of God 
the Son, and conveying the approval of his work in these words, 
" Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." What 
have we to dread if the Eternal Father has expressed complete 
satisfaction with what Jesus has done ; what can we fear if ive 
are accepted in the Beloved ? % But let us not mistake the 
matter, or conceive that the work which Jesus has accomplished 
will, in the shghtest degree, avail us, so long as we keep at a 
distance from him. Those only who have faith in him as re- 
vealed in the word, are received into the family of God. Whilst 
all who continue in unbelief and carelessness lie under the full 
weight of their sins, penitent believers can rejoice in the fulness 
of God's pardoning mercy. 

We are informed that John the Baptist was cast into prison : 
other evangehsts state the reason why — because of his fidehty 
in executing the ministerial office, and reproving Herod for his 
sin.§ From this prison he never came forth alive, for there he 
was beheaded. But no sooner did our Lord hear of his impris- 
onment, than he went into Galilee, where John himself had been 
preaching, and bore testimony to the very truths which John 
himself had maintained. The scope of John's ministry had been, 
" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," and the instant 
that this holy man was precluded from any further discharge of 

* See John iii. 27—31. 
t Christ was baptized, not tliat he might be cleansed by the water, but that he 
might sanctity the water to the mystical washing away of sin. — Ambrose. 
't Eph. i.e. ' § Matt. xiv. 3, 4. 



156 S. MARK. ■ [chap. i. 23—4.5. 

his ministry, our blessed Lord insisted on the same awakening 
topic, saying-, " the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is 
at hand : repent ye and believe the Gospel." As John's minis- 
try was preparatory to that of the Son of God, so was Christ's 
preaching preparatory to the ministration of the Spirit. When 
the Comforter was fully given at Pentecost, the Gospel -kingdom 
was established, and the former dispensation set aside. How 
great is our privilege in living under the brightest dispensation 
that can be expected until the appearing and glorious kingdom 
of the Son of Man ! 

The calling of four of the apostles is next mentioned by St. 
Mark. The instruments which Christ chose to employ in 
setting up his kingdom, were the weak and foohsh things of 
the world, men, not called from the schools of the philoso- 
phers, but from the fishing-boats of Galilee. The design of 
which was to prove that the success of the Gospel could only 
be attributed to the power of God — who in this and other ways, 
bore witness to the divine origin of the Christian religion.* 
These men were actively employed at their trade, when Jesus 
commanded their attendance. Christ puts honour upon those 
who, though mean in the world, are diligent in their business. 
The great work of ministers is to fish for souls, and win them 
to Christ. Mankind, in their natural condition, are lost : they 
wander endlessly in the great ocean of this world, and are 
carried down the stream of its course and ways. Ministers, in 
their preaching, cast the net into the waters. A vast multitude 
are inclosed and brought into the pale of the outward church. 
So far it is well ; but there is a time coming, when the bad 
fish shall be divided from the good,t — wicked professors of the 
faith from the godly. How terrible that separation — and how 
awful will our condition be in that day, " if we neglect so great 
salvation ! " 



CHAP. I. 23—45. 



AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT CAST OUT PETERS MOTHER-IN -LAW AND OTHERS HEALED 

THE CLEANSING OF A LEPER. 

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit ; and he cried 
out, Saying, Let us alone : what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of 
Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy us ? I know thee who thou art, the 

* 1 Cor. i. 27—29. f See Matt. xiii. 48. 



cuAP. I. 23—45.] S. MARK. 1.57 

Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and 
come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried 
with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, inso- 
much that they questioned among themselves, sapng, What thing is this ? 
what new doctrine is this ? for with authority commandeth he even the 
unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread 
abroad throughout all the region romid about GaUlee. And forthwith, 
when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of 
Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's vrife's mother 
lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took 
her by the hand, and lifted her up ; and immediately the fever left her, 
and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they 
brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with 
devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he 
healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many de\^ls ; 
and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the 
morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed 
into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were 
with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said 
unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them. Let us go into 
the next towns, that I may preach there also : for therefore came I forth. 
And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out 
de^-ils. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down 
to him, and saying unto him. If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, 
and saith unto him, I will ; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, 
immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And 
he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away ; And saith unto 
him. See thou say nothing to any man : but go thy way, shew thyself to 
the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, 
for a testimony mito them. But he went out, and began to publish it 
much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more 
openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places : and they came 
to him from every quarter. 

Several miracles are recorded in this portion of Scripture to 
have been wrought by our blessed Lord, in confirmation of 
his being the true Messiah. First he cast the devil out of a 
man that was possessed, in the synagogue of Capernaum. The 
unclean spirit, conscious of Christ's superior power, would have 
made terms of peace if he could, and was obhged to bear testi- 
mony to him who " came to destroy the works of the devil." — 
" I know thee who thou art, the Holy one of God." This is 
the misery of those wretched spirits, that they persist in their 
rebelhon, and yet know it will end in their destruction. They 
desire to have nothing to do with Jesus Christ ; for they despair 
of being saved by him, and dread being destroyed by him — 
" What have we to do with thee ? " See whose language they 
speak, who say to the Almighty, depart from us, we desire not 
the " knowledge of thy ways." But as Jesus taught, so he 



158 S. MARK. [chap, i. 23— l'). 

healed with authority. It is vain for Satan to beg and pray, 
saying, " let us alone ; " his power must be broken, and the 
poor man must be relieved : Jesus rebuked him by the power of 
his word, he commanded him to come out, and he could not but 
obey. 

Our Lord's next miracle was performed on the mother of 
Peter's wife. Peter and other of the apostles were married men 
— nothing M^as then known of the forced celibacy of ministers of 
religion.* This woman lay sick of a fever ; a case just suited to 
display the power and love of Jesus. " He took her by the 
hand, and immediately the fever left her." Observe, how complete 
the cure was : the fever left her at once, but it did not, as usually, 
leave her weak, for the same hand that healed, also strengthened 
her. Whatever Jesus undertakes, he executes completely. After 
this, crowds of patients flocked around him, and all were attended 
to. No number could exhaust his patience — no malady could 
baffle his skill. But we see httle of the real worth and import- 
ance of these miracles, if we look no further than the mere his- 
toric facts. These indeed speak aloud the glory of Jesus, and 
are calculated to convince the judgment that he was the Son of 
God ; but the grandeur of these works consisted in this, — that 
they were outward testimonies of the far more noble operations 
of that grace upon the heart, which we individually need. Let 
each of us then apply what we read to our own case. Those who 
came to our Saviour were afflicted with bodily diseases ; our 
malady is of a far worse kind — deadly to the soul — the disease of 
sin ; but Jesus is mighty to save ; every miracle he performed 
is a pledge and assurance of our recovery, if we do but go to him 
with the same sense of distress, and desire for a cure, as these 
persons had, of whom we have just read. Were we more in 
earnest about our souls, our prayers would be more frequent, as 
well as more solemn ; our cry for spiritual health would be more 
loud ; and feehng that unless our hearts were cleansed by this 
infallible Physician, and our evil habits overcome, we never could 
be finally saved, we should apply to him without delay, and 
never cease to ask till the desire of our hearts was obtained. 

Our Lord has on many occasions pointed out by his example, 
the duty of private prayer. Here in particular we are told, 
that *' in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he 
went out into a sohtary place, and there prayed." f We may 

* 1 Tim. iii. 2, 4. 
t The Greek of this verse, (35,) is very expressive, "And rising up" vpool 
" early," very early ^vyvxov ^««i' — yet " in the night " — i. e. before sun-rise. 



CHAP. I. 23-45.] S. MARK. 159 

learn three things from hence. First the duty of prayer : it is 
indeed an unspeakable privilege to be allowed to draw near to 
God, yea, it is the command of God that we should pray, and 
the neglect of prayer is both a breach of the law of God, and a 
relinquishing of our greatest privilege. Secondly, we learn the 
best time for prayer, — " early in the morning," when our minds 
and bodies are fresh for the service, and before the world has got 
into our hearts ; there are many who love prayer so much, and 
consider this time so valuable for it, that they copy our Lord's 
example, and give the early morning to this blessed enjoyment ; 
but a far greater number value it so little, that they would not 
deny themselves a few moments' sleep to procure a time for 
prayer : they make prayer a task, and not a privilege. Thirdly, 
we learn that no social prayer should prevent, or take the place 
of private devotion. Our Lord doubtless often prayed with his 
disciples, yet did he seek occasions for solitary prayer besides. 
Our joining in family prayer should never be considered as a 
substitute for secret prayer. They are distinct kinds of worship; 
each will prepare for the other, but neither should be omitted. 

The last miracle of our Saviour recorded in this chapter is the 
healing of a leper, that is, a person afflicted with the loathsome 
disease of leprosy. He came to Jesus, saying, " Lord, if thou 
wilt, thou canst make me clean." He knew that he had power 
to remove even the leprosy, which earthly physicians have not. 
He was not so sure of Christ's iiillingness to heal ; but why 
should we doubt his love more than his power ? He has proved 
both by the blood of the cross; let us apply to him, in faith, 
without delay. Persons afflicted with sickness are generally 
anxious to try the skill of the physician who has been of most 
use to their neighbour : they say, he has cured him, perhaps he 
can cure 7ne. Oh, that you would thus think of Jesus ! He 
has cured thousands of their sin, and he can cure you too ; yea, 
he will do so if you ask him earnestly. 

Our Lord wishing to avoid every thing that looked like os- 
tentation, or that might excite a tumult, forbade the leper's declar- 
ing what had been done, but directed that he should follow the 
instruction of the ceremonial law, and present himself to the 
priest, and upon his acknowledging him to be clean, should offer 
the sacrifice which the law commanded.* The object of this was 
to afford an evidence to the Jews of the reality of the miracle — 
of his wish to observe the law of Moses, and as a testimony 

* See Lev. xiv. 10—14. 



16Q S. MARK. [chap. ii. 

against those who should afterwards accuse him. In this way 
he also proved his superiority to the Levitical priests, who could 
only declare the man clean or unclean ; whereas, Jesus could 
touch the leper without contamination, and remove this terrible 
disease by his word. The man was so overjoyed at his recovery, 
that he published the matter everywhere. In this he was 
wrong, for the Saviour had enjoined silence on him. But we are 
under no such distressing obligation. If we have derived spi- 
ritual aid from Jesus, his command is, that we should go home 
and tell our friends and neighbours what "great things the Lord 
hath done for us." 



CHAP. II. 



CHRIST HEALETH ONE SICK OF THE PALSY CALLETH MATTHEW WHAT WORKS 

MAY BE DONE ON THE SABEATH. 

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days : and it was noised that 
he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, inso- 
much that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about 
the door : and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, 
bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they 
could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof 
where he was : and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed 
wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said 
unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were 
certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts. Why 
doth this tnan thus speak blasphemies ? who can forgive sins but God only ? 
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned 
within themselves, he said unto them. Why reason ye these things in your 
hearts ? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy. Thy sins be 
forgiven thee ; or to say. Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk ? But 
that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive 
sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee. Arise, and take 
up thy bed, and go thy way into tliine house. And immediately he arose, 
took up the bed, and went forth before them all ; insomuch that they were 
all amazed, and glorified God, saying. We never saw it on this fashion. 
And he went forth again by the sea-side ; and all the multitude resorted 
unto him, and he taught them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the 
son of Alphseus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him. Follow 
me. And he arose and followed him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus 
sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with 
Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 
And when the Scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sin- 
ners, they said unto his disciples. How is it that he eatcth and drinketh 
with publicans and sinners ? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, 
They that arc whole have no need of the })hysician, but they that are sick : 
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to rei)entance. And the dis- 
ciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast : and they come and say 



CHAP. II.] S. MARK. 161 

unto liim, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but 
thy disciples fast not ? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of 
the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them ? as long as they 
have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will 
come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall 
they fast in those days. No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an 
old garment : else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the 
old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old 
bottles : else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, 
and the bottles will be marred : but new wine must be put into new bot- 
tles. And it came to pass, that he went through the corn-fields on the 
sabbath day ; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of 
corn. And the Pharisees said unto him. Behold, why do they on the 
sabbath-day that which is not lawful ? And he said unto them, Have ye 
never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, 
and they that were with him ? How he went into the house of God, in 
the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shew-bread, which 
is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were 
with him ? And he said unto them. The sabbath was made for man, and 
not man for the sabbath : Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the 
sabbath. 

In this chapter we hear of our Saviour miraculously healing a 
man sick of the palsy. This person was so great a cripple that 
he could not walk, but was carried by four persons on a bed or 
couch. We find their faith was great. This poor man and his 
friends had a firmpersuasion that Christ was invested with a divine 
power, and was able to help him ; accordingly they combated 
all difiiculties, and, as no easier way of approach to Jesus offered, 
they uncovered the roof of the house, and let the bed down, 
with the sick man on it, into the room where Christ was, which 
was an easier matter to effect in their houses than in ours.* Just 
so it is, and will ever be, with those who feel their need of a 
Saviour ; nothing can prevent their coming, when once they are 
awakened to see their undone and helpless state ; they will not 
mind becoming singular, or using any means, however uncom- 
mon, so that they may behold that blessed Saviour who can 
alone heal and strengthen them. 

We find that this man's cure was immediate ; for when Jesus 
saw their faith, by the uncommon means they took to bring the 
sick man into his presence, he said to him, " Son, thy sins be for- 
given thee." The Scribes protested against this expression, and 
accused our Lord of blasphemy, urging, that it was God's pecu- 

* Perhaps rather into the court where Jesus was, the eastern houses being 
only one story, built round a paved court, hence a-rretyreyaffav (uncovered) may 
mean, to remove the veil which was thrown over the court from one parapet to 
another.— See Shaw's travels, cited by Home. Introduction, vol. iii. p. 386. 

VOL. I. M 



1G2 S. MARK. [chap. ir. 

liar prerogative to forgive sin. Their doctrine was true, but 
their apphcation of it was false ; our Saviour, therefore, gave 
these scribes a twofold demonstration of his Godhead ; first, by 
letting them understand that he knew their thoughts, — *' Jesus 
perceived in his spirit that they reasoned within themselves ; " 
and secondly, by giving them an evident proof that he had abso- 
lute power and authority to remove the disease which was the 
effect of sin ; and this he did in such a sovereign manner as was 
peculiar to God ; when, turning to the sick man, he spake with 
all the majesty and power of a divine person, " I say unto thee 
arise, take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house." The 
man immediately arose in full strength, took up his bed, and 
carried it away, passing through the crowd, and carrying with 
him the proof that Jesus was God. Let us learn from this nar- 
rative, that pardon and spiritual health are to be found in Christ 
alone : divine justice forbids pardon without a full atonement, 
and none could offer a suitable atonement but Jesus. How happy 
then should we consider it, that salvation is in the hands of so 
compassionate a Saviour as Jesus. He rejected none who came 
to him on earth — he will reject none who go to him in prayer, 
now that he is in heaven, and all who are thus freed from the 
guilt of sin, are enabled to walk with God in spiritual health and 
vigour. 

The calling of Levi, or Matthew, to be one of our Lord's 
disciples, has already been fully noticed.* He left his base, 
though profitable trade, the moment our Lord demanded his 
attendance. Alas ! how many hear the Saviour's call conveyed 
in this Gospel, day after day, and yet never move a step to 
follow him. They are "like the deaf adder that stopped her 
ears, which will not hearken to the voice of the charmer, charm 
he never so wisely." It was on the occasion of Matthew's 
inviting his former associates to his house, for their benefit, that 
the Scribes and Pharisees found fault with Jesus for joining 
their company. Their conduct displayed the pride of their 
hearts. They considered themselves too good to join such 
company ; but instead of blaming our Lord for going, they 
should have rejoiced that these publicans and sinners were in the 
way of being improved by his company. The answer which 
, our Lord gave, at once reproved them, and excused himself — 
" I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." 
Had men been righteous, Christ had never come to suffer in our 

* See Matt. ix. 9. 



CHAP. II.] S. MARK. 163 

place. His business lay with sinners, therefore he was justified 
in going to eat with those who were ready to confess themselves 
guilty ; whereas he had no business with the Pharisees, because 
they felt not that they were sinners. May we never be deprived 
of the Saviour's help, by the want of a knowledge of our need 
of him. 

After answering some questions which were proposed to our 
Lord on the subject of fasting, and which have already been 
explained, he justifies the conduct of his disciples in plucking 
some ears of corn on the Sabbath-day, to which the Pharisees 
had objected. He reminds them of David, who, in a case of 
necessity, had eaten the shew-bread, which the Jewish priests 
and their families alone were allowed to taste ; * and again, he 
quotes the example of the priests themselves, who performed 
laborious work on the Sabbath, by killing, slaying and consu- 
ming the sacrifices, and yet incurred no guilt thereby, because 
they were serving God. So, he argued, that the disciples were 
blameless, because their necessity arose out of their attendance 
on him at the synagogue. " The Sabbath was made for man, 
and not man for the Sabbath." The appointment of the Sabbath 
did not take place till the whole work of creation was complete ; 
therefore man, who was created on the sixth day, could not have 
been made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath must have been 
made for him. It was made for his spiritual improvement, and 
not for his hurt or destruction, much less for profanation. If 
God has instituted Sabbaths for our good, they are a talent of 
which we must give an account to him ; and think what an 
awful responsibility we incur by means of them ! A person that 
is seventy years of age, has had no less than ten years of entire 
Sabbaths ! what might not have been done in that time, if they 
had been properly improved ? When therefore the Sabbath 
arrives, though we should welcome it as a blessing, we. should 
also welcome it with fear and trembling; lest that which is 
designed for our good, should only aggravate our final con- 
demnation. 

■" Abiathar is here mentioned, instead of Abimelech, as in 1 Sam. xxi. 2, 6, 
probably because he brought the ephod to David, and was a long time Higli 
Priest in David's reign, having first acted as deputy to his Father, Avhen he gave 
the shew-bread to Daviil. 



M 2 



1G4 S. MARK. [chap. hi. 1—12. 



CHAP. III. 1—12. 

WORKS OF MERCY SUITED TO THE SABBATH JESUS REFUSES THE TESTIMONY 

OF THE UNCLEAN SPIRITS. 

And he entered again into the synagogue ; and there was a man there which 
had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him 
on the sabbath-day : that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the 
man -which had the withered hand. Stand forth. And he saith unto them. 
Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath-days, or to do evil ? to save life, or 
to kill ? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round 
about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, 
he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it 
out : and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees 
went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, 
how they might destroy him. But Jesus withdrew himself with his dis- 
ciples to the sea : and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and 
from Judea, And from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond 
Jordan ; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they 
had heard what great things he did, came unto him. And he spake to his 
disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, 
lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that 
they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And 
unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, 
saying. Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they 
should not make him known. 

The holy mind of Jesus was continually wounded by the stub- 
born opposition of the Jewish rulers. It was not sufficient that 
he had vindicated the character of his disciples from the charge 
of Sabbath breaking, but he himself is exposed to a similar 
imputation on the very next Sabbath, because he healed a man 
with a withered hand, who attended the synagogue service. 
" They watched him," hoping to entrap him, but their utmost 
malice was vain, for they failed to establish a single point 
against him. It is true that he did cure a poor sufferer on the 
Sabbath day : but was it not a work of love and mercy, and 
therefore suited to the day ? " He looked round with anger, 
being grieved at the hardness of their hearts." If sinners knew 
what the anger of God is, it would serve to deter them from 
many a crime ; and if the Lord's people would keep in mind 
how their sins grieve the Holy Spirit of God, it would act as a 
motive to excite their watchfulness. We should not forget our 
Lord's question to the cavilling pharisees ; — " Is it lawful to do 
good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil ? " We must be occu- 
pied in some way, and if we are not doing good, we shall be 



CHAP. III. 1—12.] S. MARK. 165 

doing evil. Some people think that it is lawful to pass the Sab- 
bath in harmless idleness, neither in worldly labour nor in com- 
munion with God ; but Christ's question proves them mistaken, 
— if they are not doing good, by going to the house of prayer, 
meditating on the word of God, or relieving the wants of their 
fellow- creatures, the Lord will regard their lazy ease as a profa- 
nation of his Sabbath. 

While the rich and the idle despised Jesus, the poor crowded 
to hear him ; multitudes from all parts of the country thronged 
about him. Some in the present day seem to think that the 
poor and laborious are not required to read the word of God, as 
if the Scriptures were only intended for ministers or for well- 
educated persons. This is a sad mistake — all classes are bound 
to make the Bible their daily companion, either by reading or 
hearing it read. Eich and poor have all the plague of sin, and 
must all come to the Saviour in the same way, or they shall 
never be healed. Here is no distinction of rank ; the same dis- 
ease pervades all — the same remedy must be applied to all. 
" The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 

It appears that the unclean spirits who possessed the bodies of 
men in our Lord's day, had a better knowledge of him than many 
for whom he lived and died. They here exclaimed, " Thou art the 
Son of God," conscious that he was the Son of the eternal Father, 
and now also " the seed of the woman." It is true that the 
Devils only beheved in his existence and trembled,* but they 
did not trust in him, because he came not to save them, but to 
cast them out, and finally to destroy the works of the Devil. 
Neither would Christ allow them to proclaim his name to men, 
because they were unfit witnesses to the truth of God. It was 
meet to shew that there was no fellowship between Christ 
and Belial, and therefore our Lord charged them that they 
should not make him known. Let us improve these things to our 
own warning. How great must our sin be, if we remain at a 
distance from Christ, perhaps, more ignorant of him than these 
Satanic beings. For them he came not with salvation, but 
destruction ; for us he was the incarnate, suffering Saviour, 
occupied day and night in accomplishing the great work of our 
redemption. Oh ! what love was this, what rich and sovereign 
mercy to guilty man ! Shall we not trust in him who has given 
the best and clearest proofs of his love to us ? Trusting in him, 
we shall love him, and thus shall we be qualified to be his wit^ 

* James ii. 19. 



166 S. MARK. [chap. hi. 13—35. 

iiesses in a thoughtless world, not only with our lips, but by the 
solid fruits of a holy and devoted life. 

Inote v. 0. — The llerodians were most likely Sadducees in fdoctrine, but politi- 
cally great supporters of Herod, and in favour of paying the tribute to 
Csesar. — See Elsley's Annotations, vol. i. p. 343. 



CHAP. III. 13—35. 



JESUS CALLS THE REST OF HIS APOSTLES HIS GREAT ZEAL MISTAKEN WHO 

ARE HIS TRUE RELATIONS. 

And he goetli up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would : and 
they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be witli 
him, and that he might send them forth to preach. And to have power to 
heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils : And Simon he surnamed Peter ; 
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James ; and he 
surnamed them Boanerges, which is. The sons of thunder ; And Andrew, 
and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the 
sen of Alphcus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas 
Iscariot, which also betrayed him : and they went into an house. And 
the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as 
eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold 
on him : for they said. He is beside himself. And the scribes which came 
down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prjnce of the 
devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto 
them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan 1 And if a kingdom be 
divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be 
divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up 
against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No 
man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he 
will first bind the strong man ; and then he will spoil his house. Verily 
I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blas- 
phemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme : But he tiiat shall blas- 
pheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of 
eternal damnation : Because they said. He hath an unclean spirit. There 
came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto 
him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him ; and they said unto 
him. Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And 
he answered them, saying. Who is my mother, or my brethren ? And he 
looked round about on them which sat about him, and said. Behold my 
mother and my brethren ! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the 
same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. 

Our blessed Lord had already called four of his disciples, as we 
read in the first chapter. Here we find that he added eight 
more to their number, making twelve in all, perhaps with refe- 
rence to the twelve Jewish tribes. Two of these, James and 
his brother, John, he surnamed Boanerges, the sons of thunder, 



CHAP. III. 13—35.] S. MARK. 167 

either because they were more vehement in preaching the word, 
than the rest, or because they accompanied Christ to the mount, 
where they heard the voice of God Hke thunder, of which they 
afterwards bare witness in their preaching. After this the 
multitude of his followers increased so much, that they had no 
room in the house to eat their meals ; and it was on this occa- 
sion that his friends or relations interfered to check what they 
conceived was his mistaken zeal. They concluded that he was 
" beside himself," and that he exceeded all bounds of modera- 
tion and prudence.* They therefore sought to lay hold on him, 
and either by importunity or compulsion, to prevail with him to 
desist from his excessive labours. The disciple of Jesus suffers 
often in the same way now, from the painful interference of 
friends and relatives. Some, no doubt, are urged by mistaken 
kindness — they excuse their conduct by an anxiety for his health, 
judging that his labours are indiscreet — that he must spare himself. 
But though proper caution is to be observed, far more err on the 
side of too much sparing of themselves, than of too little. The 
Christian, however, suffers also like his master, from those who 
are decidedly opposed to his principles and practice. They 
who have no zeal for the service of God themselves, consider 
that every thing like zeal in others, is unmeaning, because it is, 
in fact, a condemnation of their deadness to God, and therefore 
they brand it with the name of enthusiasm. How often do we 
hear it said, " such a person is decidedly deranged — his brain has 
been turned by new fancies about religion — he takes the matter 
too warmly." But who are the persons that speak thus ? — they 
who are uninfluenced by religion, and are living after the ways 
of the world. And of whom is this said? of those who show 
that their religion is influential, by a life of holiness and useful- 
ness. " It is good to be zealously affected always in a good 
thing." f Is not religion a good thing ? if so, we ought to be 
zealously affected in that cause. If any of us are suffering for 
our zeal in the service of Jesus, let us commit the keeping of 
our souls to him in earnest prayer, while, at the same time, by 
well doing, we may put to silence the ignorance of those who 
oppose us. I 

Having noticed, at large, our Lord's observations on the 

* Many would render, e^ean, "to be astonished," not wisliing to attribute such 
evil surmises to our Lord's relations, but this seems to give no point to the verse 
(21) ; "to be beside oneself" is an usual metaphorical meaning given to this 
word in classical writers, (see Liddell and Scott,) and in 2 Cor. v. 13, it is op- 
posed to aairppoveiv, to be wise. 

t Gal. iv. 18. + 1 Peter iv. 10, 19. 



168 S. MARK. [chap. iv. 1—20. 

blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, where they occurred in the 
12th chap, of St. Matthew, let us now rather consider the ex- 
pressions of his love towards his people, contained in the last 
verses of this chapter. — " There came then his brethren and his 
mother, and standing without, sent unto him, calling him." It 
would seem as if they came for the same purpose that his kins- 
men did before — to make him spare himself; but when told that 
they were in waiting, he took occasion to declare, that the spiri- 
tual relationship which existed between him and his people, was 
stronger than any bonds of mere natural affection. He describes 
his people as those who do his will ; what this will is, may be 
answered by two quotations from Scripture. " This is my be- 
loved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him," and, " This 
is the will of God, even your sanctification."* Till persons hear, 
and believe in Jesus, and show the fruits of holiness, they re- 
main, and ever must remain, objects of his wrath. Let us sup- 
pose Jesus in the day of his coming, surrounded by the assem- 
bled universe, and many who were once related to him in the 
flesh, calling upon him like his brethren here, and saying — " We 
have eaten and drunk in thy presence — we are your brethren, 
your sisters, your nearest relatives," — we may then imagine him 
using the same gracious declarations that we have just read 
" Who is my mother or my brethren ? " and stretching out his 
hands towards his redeemed and obedient followers, — " Behold 
my mother and my brethren ; for whosoever doth the will of God, 
the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Vain is our 
hope of being then acknowledged by Jesus, if we are not noiv 
doing his will. 



CHAP. IV. 1—20. 



THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER THE EXPLANATION OF IT. 

And he began again to teach by the sea-side : and there was gathered unto him 
a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea ; and 
the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them 
many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken ; 
Behold, there went out a sower to sow : And it came to pass, as he sowed, 
some fell by the way-side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it 
up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth ; and 
immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth : But when the 



1 Tliess. iv. 3. 



CHAP. IV. 1-20.] S. MARK. 169 

sun was up, it was scorched ; and because it had no root, it withered away. 
And some fell among thorns ; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and 
it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit 
that sprang up and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, and some 
sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them. He that hath ears 
to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him 
with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto 
you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God : but unto 
them that are without, all these things are done in parables : That seeing 
they may see, and not perceive ; and hearing they may hear, and not un- 
derstand ; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should 
be forgiven them. And he said unto them. Know ye not this parable ? 
and how then will ye know all parables ? The sower soweth the word. 
And these are they by the way-side, where the word is sown ; but when 
they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word 
that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown 
on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately 
receive it with gladness ; And have no root in themselves, and so endure 
but for a time : afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the 
word's sake, immediately they are oifended. And these are they which 
are sown among thorns ; such as hear the word, And the cares of this 
world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other thmgs enter- 
ing in, choke the word and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they 
which are sown on good ground ; such as hear the word, and receive it, 
and bring forth fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some an hundred. 

The preceding chapter commenced with an account of Christ's 
teaching in the synagogue , this chapter begins with his " teach- 
ing again by the sea-side." Thus he changed his place and 
method, that if possible all might be instructed. To honour the 
house of God and to meet those who had seats in the synagogue, 
he resorted thither, to teach them the way of life ; whilst to 
meet the wants of the poor, he preached where they could come 
within hearing, by the sea-side, or the road-side. Ministers 
should consider themselves " debtors both to the wise and to 
the unwise.' 

Our Lord addressed the multitude that followed him, in his 
usual style of parable : for poor people, such as he then ad- 
dressed, love to be spoken to in their own language, and will 
attend to a plain comparison, borrowed from common things, 
when a dry statement of truth would be carelessly heard, and 
soon forgotten. The parable was intended to show the different 
reception which the preaching of the Gospel meets with from 
different persons. For this purpose our Lord represented the 
case of a husbandman sowing his seed. Some of the grains 
which he scattered, fell on the way-side — either upon the public 
road, or on the path-way, which often led through the corn 
fields, and on one of which our Lord walked with his disciples, 



170 S. MARK. [chap. iv. 1—20. 

when they plucked the ears of corn.* The ground on whicli 
it fell was hard, unploughed, and uncultivated, and consequently 
the seed lay exposed, and was immediately devoured by the 
birds. Some grains fell on stony ground, either where the stones 
lay unremoved, or where a thin surface of soil covered a deep- 
seated rock : these sprang up quickly : but as soon withered 
away, when the sun from above scorched them, and the rock 
beneath stopped the progress of the tender root. Others again 
fell upon ground over-run with thorns and noxious weeds, and 
these were naturally lost, their growth being hindered by their 
unprofitable neighbours — the weeds. Other seeds, however, 
met with a better soil, and fell upon ground which had been 
previously prepared, where the plough had entered, and from 
which the stones and brambles had been carefully removed. 
These, as might be expected, grew : there appeared, " first the 
blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." 

This parable cannot be mistaken, — for our Lord graciously con- 
descended to explain each part ; all may now perceive that in it 
is contained a picture of spiritual things ; and that as the seed 
spoken of, withered or grew, in proportion as the ground was 
prepared to receive it, so does the word of God, read from the 
Bible, or spoken by his ministers, decay or prosper, according 
as the hearts of the hearers have been softened by the Holy 
Spirit, and cleansed from all those natural impediments which 
render the word unfruitful. Our object then need not be so 
much to explain this parable, as to apply it. Each of us belongs 
to one or other of these four classes of hearers, and let us care- 
fully observe that whatever distinction may exist between the 
various kinds of unfruitful ground, the issue is the same. The man 
who chokes the seed of divine truth by an undue attention to 
lawful things, is as much excluded from the benefits of the Gos- 
pel, as he, whose flinty heart at once resists the tender impres- 
sion. There may be distinctions among ourselves, and there 
will be degrees of punishment hereafter, but let the cause of 
our rejecting the Gospel be ever so trifling, we shall finally lose 
all its precious blessings, if we do not belong to those who 
receive the truth of God in faith and love. " He that 
oflendeth in one point is guilty of all," -I" and he that resists 
the Gospel for the sake of one sin, loses all. Let us then 
beware of thorns, as well as of the rock: many a man has "a 
name to live," whom God sees to be dead in sin. It matters 

* Sec M;itt. xii, 1. t James ii. 10. 



CHAP. IV. 21—41] S. MARK. ^ 171 

not what we call ourselves, or what we profess ; If we bear 
not the fruits of righteousness, we are not Christians. May 
that God who knows our hearts, so teach us to know ourselves, 
that we may not die in false security, or close our eyes in hope 
of glory, and yet wake in endless misery ! What we all want 
is " a new heart" — prepared, renewed and sanctified by the Spirit 
of God ; — we want "the heart of stone " to be taken away, and 
a tender one to replace it. Till we receive this " new heart," 
nothing that we hear or read can turn to any account, — it will 
either be snatched away by Satan, — scorched by trials and per- 
secution, or choked by the pleasures and cares of this vain, de- 
lusive world. None of us can change these hearts by our own 
power. The ungodly will not be condemned because they did 
not effect this change themselves, but because they did not cry 
earnestly and sincerely to God, through Christ, to change them 
by the power of his Spirit. Let us now resolve on earnest prayer 
to the heavenly husbandman, that he would send the gracious 
dew of the Spirit fi-om above, and drive the plough of the law 
over our otherwise hard hearts, so shall we bring forth the fruits 
of true religion ; yea and find that the seed of divine truth is a 
growing principle, for it not only fell on the good ground, but 
sprang up and increased, by a sure and steady growth. May 
God grant us this blessing, for his own name's sake. Amen. 



CHAP. IV. 21—41. 

THE CANDLE NOT TO BE PUT UNDER A BUSHEL THE PARABLE OF THE SEED 

GROWING SECRETLY AND OF THE MUSTARD. 

Aud he said uuto them. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or 
under a bed } and not to be set on a candlestick ? For there is nothing 
hid, which shall not be manifested ; neither was any thing kept secret, but 
that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 
And he saith unto them. Take heed what ye hear : with what measure ye 
mete, it shall be measured to you ; and unto you that hear shall more be 
given. For he that hath, to him shall be given : and he that hath not, 
from him shall be taken even that which he hath. And he said. So is the 
kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground ; And 
should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow- 
up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself ; 
first the blade, then the ear, after that the fvill corn in the ear. But when 
the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because 
the harvest is come. And he said, Whereunto shall wehken the kingdom 
of God ? or with what comparison shall we compare it ? It is like a grain 
of mustard- seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the 
seeds that be in the earth : But when it is sown, it groweth up, and be- 



172 S. MARK. [chap. iv. 21-41. 

cometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches ; so that 
the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. And with many 
such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. 
But without a parable spake he not unto them : and when they were alone, 
he expounded all things to his disciples. And the same day, when the 
even was come, he saith unto them. Let us pass over unto the other side. 
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he 
was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And 
there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so 
that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep 
on a pillow : and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou 
not that we perish } And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto 
the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great 
calm. And he said unto them, W[\j are ye so fearful? how is it that ye 
have no faith ? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another. 
What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him ? 

It is useful to observe how the different parts of our Lord's dis- 
courses are connected with each other. He had just before 
stated, that good ground would produce good fruit, or in other 
words, that a truly Christian person would adorn the Gospel by 
a life of holiness ; and then immediately asks the question, " Is a 
candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and 
not to be set on a candlestick ? " thereby meaning to imply, that 
when he has enlightened the heart of any person by a saving 
knowledge of the truth, that person is not to shine for himself 
alone — to do his works in secret, but is to consider himself as 
taught for the good of others, and is to stand forth to enhghten 
those around him by his life and conversation. In this sense 
ministers especially are to give light ; but each private Christian 
has a certain sphere, within which his light should shine, that 
others, seeing the holiness of his life, may desire to be made par- 
takers of the same faith which produces such fruits in him. To 
encourage the Christian in this line of public usefulness, a pro- 
raise is given, that as he improves the talents entrusted to him, 
more grace shall be imparted to him. The comfort and utility 
of religion increase like a merchant's stock in trade, by constant 
use, never being allowed to he idle on his hands : thus the Chris- 
tian gains much by faithfulness and activity ; he has greater joy 
and comfort in his own soul : his spirituality increases, and the 
work of God advances within him. 

The growth of religion within the heart of a believer is beau- 
tifully illustrated by two parables — one the growth of corn, the 
other, that of the mustard-seed. Just as the husbandman sows 
his seed, and then quietly goes to rest, and patiently waits for 
the time of harvest, so the ministers of God must sow in faith, 



CHAP. IV. 21-41.] S. MARK. 173 

by dispensing the doctrines of the gospel, neither being over 
anxious nor yet negligent, if the fruit of their labour doth not 
immediately appear.* As in the one case the seed takes root 
in that ground which was previously tilled, so in the other does 
the word of instruction sink into that heart which is previously 
prepared by the Holy Spirit ; and as the seed which takes root, 
grows and passes through the various stages of vegetation ; " first 
the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear," so re- 
ligion, once rooted, flourishes, and leads the Christian from one 
stage of spiritual attainment to another. The tender blade of 
corn, when it rears its head above the earth, is a lively image of 
the new-born Christian ; he shoots upwards, aspiring towards 
heaven ; his growth is from the earth. But many fears are 
entertained for his safety. The minister through whom he has 
received the truth, watches as anxiously over him as the husband- 
man does over the tender corn. He knows his weakness, and 
the difficulties which he has to encounter. He knows that the 
chilling blast of persecution may light upon him before he has 
acquired strength to withstand its influence ; or that the too 
powerful sunshine of prosperity may cause it to decay, while 
neither rain nor dew descends to moisten it, and so his hopes 
may be blasted. But what is his joy if he sees the tender object 
of his care outhve these dangers ! If the root be truly struck, he 
shall outlive them, because it will then be the work of God, and 
he is pledged to take care of those in whose hearts he has com- 
menced the work of grace. His promise is, " I the Lord do 
keep it ; I will water it every moment : lest any hurt it, I will 
keep it night and day ? " f and again, " the Lord shall guide thee 
continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy 
bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring 
of water whose waters fail not." J 

Thus the believer springs up under the influence of the Holy 
Spirit ; from conviction of sin, and inquiries after salvation, he 
grows up into a more sohd judgment, deeper experience, and 
humility, and greater simplicity ; and so proceeds to increasing 
fruitfulness in good works. Thus he is prepared for heaven, and 
when his measure of services and trials is completed, and he is 
made ready for the glory and felicity intended for him, the 
stroke of death shall sever him from all earthly connections, he 
shall be " bound in the bundle of life " with God's people, and 
laid up, as the wheat of the harvest, in the heavenly granary. 

* See Calvin's Comments on this Parable. 
t Isaiah xxvii. 3. t Isaiah Iviii. 11. 



174 S. MARK. [chap. IV. 21— 41. 

Happy, happy Christian ! whose Saviour is the Lord Jesus — 
whose reconciled Father is the omnipotent Jehovah — whose 
home is the glorious kingdom — to whom life is pleasant, as afford- 
ing an opportunity of living to the glory of his Redeemer — to 
whom death is unspeakable gain, as it unites him to the object 
of his love. Oh ! if such only are Christians, as are here de- 
scribed, how will it be with the world ? how will it be with us ? 
Surely if the word of God be true, none shall see the kingdom 
of glory, but such as have the kingdom of grace thus planted 
within them. Religion must be all, or it is nothing. 

The parable of the grain of mustard-seed illustrates the same 
view of the progress which the true Christian makes in vital god- 
liness, until he is matured for a better soil and climate ; but it 
may also refer to the final victory of Christ's kingdom in the 
world. Small at first, like the tender plant in the Lord's ap- 
pointed time, it shall fill the earth with fruit. All the noxious 
plants and fruitless trees of the world shall be cut down by the 
axe of the great husbandman, when he comes in his glory ; and 
shall give place to the tree of life, whose " leaves are for the 
healing of the nations.'' * 

All the parables contained in this chapter, seem to have been 
spoken during the remainder of that day on which the friends of 
Jesus were dissatisfied with his unwearied labours ; yet having 
persisted in them till the evening, he put to sea, " even as he 
was," in the ship from which he had preached, and without any 
peculiar attention to his ease or indulgence after so great fatigues. 
On this occasion he quelled the violence of the storm which had 
terrified the disciples ;t so far he yielded to their fears, but at the 
same time reproved their want of faith. If Christ be our's, no- 
thing can harm us — if he be not our's, nothing can save us. 

Note.— Clement in his first epistle to the Corinthians, lias a very beautiful pas- 
sage on the progress in grace, where he uses the same illustration as in v. 28. 
See that epistle, sect, xxiii. w avoriroi, &c. 

* Rev. xxii. 2. 
t Tre(piiiw<To — " h& thou Iridled" is more emphatic than our version "be still." 
Why should the disciples doubt his power who could thus bridle the sea by a 
word ! 



CHAP. V. 1—20.] S. MARK. 175 

CHAP. V. 1—20. 

CHRIST CASTS OUT THE LEGION OF DEVILS HE LEAVES THE GAD.UIENES. 

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the 
Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there 
met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. Who had his 
dwelling among the tombs ; and no man could bind him, no, not with 
chains : Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and 
the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in 
pieces : neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he 
was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with 
stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him. 
And cried with a loud voice, and said. What have I to do with thee, Jesus, 
thou Son of the most high God ? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment 
me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 
And he asked him. What is thy name ? And he answered, sajdng. My 
name is Legion : for we are many. And he besought him much that he 
would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh 
unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils be- 
sought him, saying. Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 
And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, 
and entered iato the swine : and the herd ran violently down a steep place 
into the sea, (they were about two thousand ;) and were choked in the sea. 
And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the coun- 
try. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come 
to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, 
sitting and clothed, and in his right mind : and they were afraid. And 
they that saw it told them how it befel to him that was possessed with the 
devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to de- 
part out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that 
had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be vrith him. 
Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him. Go home to thy 
friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and 
hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish 
in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him : and all men did 
marvel. 

This chapter calls us to contemplate the varied glories of our 
Redeemer's power and love, and each of the instances here set 
before us may be considered not only as a miracle, but also as an 
emblem of his gracious operation on the hearts of men. We may 
form a faint idea of his love and pity, from the circumstance first 
presented to us ; it appears that his passage across the lake was 
undertaken for no other purpose than to relieve one poor sufferer 
from Satan's dominion, for as soon as this was done he returned. 
We need not therefore fear being overlooked by him ; one soul 
is precious in his sight. 



176 S. MARK, [chap. v. i-20. 

On reachincr the opposite shore, there met him a man pos- 
sessed with a devil. He dwelt in no house, nor did he wear 
any clothes, but wandered about naked, in solitary places among 
the tombs — the dread and terror of all that passed by. His 
supernatural strength was so great, that neither power nor art 
could tame or bind him. In this forlorn manner he continued, 
wounding and cutting himself with stones. But as soon as this 
fierce and ungovernable creature saw Jesus, the devil which pos- 
sessed him was so overawed, that he ran and paid him solemn 
homage, and knowing that the power of God was stronger than 
his, he besought him that, after leaving the man, he might be 
allowed to take possession of a herd of swine, which was feeding 
near at hand. Jesus permitted it to be as he requested, and the 
consequence was, that the whole herd perished in the lake. These 
swine were the property of Jews, M'ho kept them in express vio- 
lation of the Jewish law ; their destruction therefore was no more 
than the just punishment of their disobedience and avarice. 

The effect which this miracle produced upon the neighbour- 
hood, gave a lamentable proof of their abandoned state. Instead 
of prostrating themselves before Jesus, and returning thanks that 
their swine only perished, while they were allowed to escape ; and 
then imploring the Saviour to remain and instruct them ; they 
overlooked his forbearance, and desired him to depart from their 
coasts. Wretched people ! their day of grace arrived, and they 
abused it. The Saviour visited them and healed the demoniac, 
the terror of their neighbourhood, and thereby prevented Satan 
from usurping power over them, and yet to that Saviour they 
say, " depart out of our coasts ; " and why ? because they cared 
more for their ungodly traffic, than they did for their souls. 
Would to God that this indifference were confined to the coast 
of Gadara ; but unconverted man is the same everywhere ; our 
own towns and villages, yea, our own families will furnish many, 
who, though not in words, yet in fact speak the same language. 
They are worldly-minded and engrossed in this world's pursuits ; 
perhaps they acknowledge it, but still they will not part with 
their sins. At length the Lord visits them — he speaks in the 
person of his minister, or by the forcible message of a serious 
disappointment, trial or affliction : yet still they are hardened ; 
they overlook the favour — disregard the minister — or mourn over 
the trial, without thinking that it came, charged with an awak- 
ening message from the Lord ; or, if in the hour of affliction, a 
serious thought does cross their minds, the next gleam of worldly 
sunshine dries their tears, and they sav to Christ and rehsfion. 



CHAP. V. 1— 20.J S. MARK. 177 

" depart from us." Jesus did as the Gadarenes requested — he 
departed ; and never do we hear that they were favoured with 
another visit from him. Let those who have slighted the favours 
and warnings of the Lord, take a lesson from this. His long- 
suifering is great, but it has an end ; and he will act in confor- 
mity with strict justice, when he withdraws the means of grace 
from those who abuse them.* 

What a view of Satanic opposition to Christ does this passage 
give us ! When this demoniac first saw Christ, he exclaimed, 
" What have I to do with thee ! Jesus, thou Son of the most 
High God ? " as if abjuring the least connection with the blessed 
God. This is a true picture of Satan. He then requested 
Christ's permission to enter into the swine, that he might cause 
their destruction, and so excite the people's hatred against Christ. 
The Lord, by casting him out of this possessed sufferer, shewed 
his power over the evil one ; but his permission to stir up the 
Gadarenes against Christ, proves that hearts willing to act under 
the tempter's power, are often left to such a master. Oh ! may 
we take warning, and submit ourselves to Christ's easy yoke, so 
shall we be able to resist all the wiles of our spiritual enemies. 



CHAP. V. 21—43. 



THE WOMAN WITH THE BLOODY ISSUE HEALED THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS 

RAISED. 

And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much 
people gathered unto him : and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, 
there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name ; and when 
he saw him, he fell at his feet. And besought him greatly, saying. My little 
daughter lieth at the point of death : / yray thee, come and lay thy hands 
on her, that she may be healed ; and she shall Uve. And Jesus went with 
him ; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain 
woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many 
things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing 
bettered, but rather grew worse ; When she had heard of Jesus, came in 
the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch 
but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood 
was dried up ; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of 
him, turned him about in the press, and said. Who touched my clothes 1 
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, 
and sayest thou. Who touched me 1 And he looked round about to see her 

* The altered character of the demoniac is noticed in the remarks on the com- 
mencement of the viiith chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. 
VOL. I. N 



178 S. MARK. [chap. v. 21—4.1. 

that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing 
what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the 
truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole ; go 
in peace, and be whole of thy plague. "While he yet spake, there came from 
the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said. Thy daughter is dead : 
why troublest thou the Master any further ? As soon as Jesus heard the word 
that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, 
only believe. And he suifered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, 
and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler 
of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed 
greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this 
ado, and weep ? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him 
to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the 
mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the 
damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, 
Talitha cumi ; which is, being interpreted. Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 
And straightway the damsel arose, and walked ; for she was of the age of 
twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And 
he charged them straightly that no man should know it ; and commanded 
that something should be given her to eat. 

Jesus having now reached the other side, where much people 
were gathered together, a certain ruler of the synagogue, being 
in deep distress at the illness of his daughter, came and implored 
our Lord's assistance, and while on the way to his house the 
people thronged him. In the middle of this crowd was one poor 
woman, who had been afflicted for twelve years with a disorder, 
which exceedingly weakened her frame, and rendered her cere- 
monially unclean. Already had she tried various methods of 
recovery, and had impoverished herself in procuring the aid of 
physicians, but all in vain ; nay, her malady grew worse. How- 
ever, she thought within herself, that this compassionate Saviour, 
who was going to heal the rich man's daughter, might, perhaps, 
take pity on her, poor though she was. She therefore formed 
the scheme of stealing a cure ; for the nature of her disorder 
made her reluctant to mention it ; here was an error ; she cer- 
tainly had high thoughts of Christ's power, but it was vain to 
imagine that the mere touch of his clothes, could, by any natural 
efficacy, cure her, without his being conscious of it ! In pur- 
suance of her design, she seized the opportunity, when Jesus was 
surrounded by the multitude, and coming behind him, touched 
his garment ; nor was she disappointed in her expectations ; for, 
notwithstanding her erroneous views, and the infirmity which 
was mixed with her faith, the disorder was instantaneously re- 
moved, and her impaired vigour completely restored. Had the 
m.atter ended here, the woman would have gone away with the 
foohsh impression that the healing virtue was in the Saviour's 



CHAP. V. 21—4.3.] S. :\IARK. 179 

garment, rather than in himself — she would also have come short 
of the instruction which she afterwards received — Christ would 
have been deprived of the honour of the miracle — and we should 
have been left without the valuable instruction to be deduced 
from the narrative. Our Lord therefore being conscious that 
" virtue," or divine energy, had gone forth from him to effect 
this cure, demanded who had touched his clothes. When all 
denied, and when the woman saw that she could not be con- 
cealed, she came, trembling, lest he should rebuke her intrusion, 
and falling down before him, declared the whole transaction. 
But her fears were groundless. Jesus addressed her by the 
affectionate appellation of " daughter," and assured her that her 
cure was the evidence, and happy effect of her faith, by which 
she had been made whole. 

Let us, then, behold in this woman the nature and effects of 
faith. She had a strong sense of want and helplessness — a con- 
fident reliance on the power and efficacy of the person to whom 
she applied — her application was made in the full expectation, 
and desire of a cure, and she was not disappointed. If you fol- 
low her example in spiritual things, you will obtain a cure for 
your inveterate malady — sin. Go to the Lord Jesus in prayer, 
with a deep sense of your guilt — with a full reliance on the 
efficacy of his atoning blood to cleanse you from all sin — and 
with earnest desire for salvation, as well from the power, as from 
I the punishment of sin, and you too shall be saved. Here is the 
j nature and effect of faith — it is the stretching out of a sinking 
I hand, to him who, w^e know, is able to support us, and thus it is 
I said, in the Scripture, that believers are "saved by faith." But, 
I remark, that while multitudes thronged and pressed our Lord, 
I one woman alone obtained healing virtue, because she alone came 
I by faith, with the desire and expectation of a cure. Learn from 
I this, that while numbers crowd the places where the Gospel is 
i preached, and press into the courts of the Lord's house, only here 
''■ and there it happens that one and another touch him in humble 
faith. Christ's death will benefit none, but such as come to him 
in the way that this woman did ; and until ive thus come to him, 
and obtain such saving virtue that our lives display the cure, 
Christ's merits will not avail us any thing — nay, it will increase 
our condemnation, that we have heard of his redeeming love, 
without applying to it. 

The preceding transaction having occurred as our Lord was 
on the way to the ruler's house, some delay was necessarily oc- 
casioned, and this, no doubt, increased the anxiety of Jairus ; 

N 2 



180 S. MARK. [ciiAi'. VI. \—-2'J. 

but his trial was much greater, when messengers came to inform 
him that his daughter had died in the interval. Yet she had 
not gone beyond the Saviour's power of recall, for having taken 
three of his disciples — a competent number for witnesses — he 
entered into the room where the child lay, and with as much 
ease as he had originally given her life, now restored her to it. 
Jesus is " the resurrection and the life." He can quicken dead 
souls, as well as dead bodies. Unless we be raised " to walk in 
newness of life," we have neither lot nor part in the salvation 
Avhich is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 



CHAP. yi. 1—29. 



CHRIST IS CONDEMNED BY HIS COUNTRYMEN HE SENDS OUT THE 

TWELVE MARTYRDOM OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country ; and his disci- 
ples follow him. And when the sahbath day was come, he began to teach 
in the synagogue : and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From 
whence hath this tnan these things ? and what wisdom is this which is given 
unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands ? Is not 
this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and 
of Juda, and Simon ? and are not his sisters here with us ? And they were 
offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without ho- 
nour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a 
few sick folk, and healed thetn. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. 
And he went round about the villages, teaching. And he called unto him 
the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two ; and gave them 
power over unclean spirits ; And commanded them that they should take 
nothing for their journey, save a staff only ; no scrip, no bread, no money 
in their purse : But be shod with sandals ; and not put on two coats. And 
he said unto them. In what place soever ye enter into an house, there 
abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, 
nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet 
for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you. It shall be more 
tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that 
city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And 
they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and 
healed them. And king Herod heard of him ; (for his name was spread 
abroad :) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and 
therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said. 
That it is Elias. And others said. That it is a prophet, or as one of the 
prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said. It is John, whom I be- 
headed : he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and 
laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his bro- 
ther Philip's wife : for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, 
. It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Therefore Herodias 
had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him ; but she could not : 



CHAP. VI. 1—29.] S. MARK. TBI 

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and 
ohserved him ; and when he heard him, he did many thing;s, and heard 
him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birth- 
day made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee ; 
And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and 
pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel. 
Ask of me whatsoever thou vidlt, and I will give it thee. And he sware 
unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the 
half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother. 
What shall I ask 1 And she said. The head of John the Baptist. And 
she came in straightway vdth haste mito the king, and asked, saying, I 
vdll that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Bap- 
tist. And the king was exceeding sorry : yet for his oath's sake, and for 
their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immedi- 
ately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought : 
and he went and beheaded him in the prison. And brovight his head in a 
charger, and gave it to the damsel : and the damsel gave it to her mother. 
And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and 
laid it in a tomb. 

In this account of our Lord's last visit to Nazareth, (as it ap- 
pears to have been,) we find that the people asked, " Is not this 
the carpenter P " whence it has reasonably been concluded that 
Christ had wrought with Joseph at this laborious business during 
the former years of his life. Having " for our sakes become 
poor," he, " the second Adam," submitted to the sentence de- 
nounced on the first Adam, and ate his " bread in the sweat of 
his brow." For this reason, the inhabitants of Nazareth closed 
their ears to his instruction. We should rather admire and 
adore the condescension of the incarnate Son of God, who for 
our sakes " took on him the form of a servant " — and by his 
gracious example, has sanctified the lowest gradation of life — so 
that the poor may glorify him as well as the rich and powerful. 

The twelve apostles, whom our Lord had previously chosen, 
are now commissioned to publish the Gospel throughout the 
country. Many of the directions here given were peculiar to 
the apostles. They were commanded to cast out devils, and to 
heal the sick with miraculous power. They used oil to anoint 
those who had divers diseases — not as a medicine — and much 
less as the outward part of a sacrament — but rather as an ap- 
plicatory sign — pointing out where the gift of healing was be- 
stowed. The general tone of Christ's directions to the twelve, 
may be well applied to the authorized ministers of Christ's word 
and sacraments. Thus after enforcing rules for self-denial, and 
dependance on Providence, he sends them forth, " two and two." 
The wisdom of our Lord in this respect is acknowledged in the 
present experience of Christian ministers ; for who so much needs- 



182 S. MARK. [chap. vi. 1-20. 

counsel and spiritual communion, as the man who labours for 
immortal souls ? and hence Solomon wisely says, " two are 
better than one, because they have a good reward for their la- 
bour ; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow ; but woe to 
him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to 
help him up." * 

The woe which our Lord denounced upon those who should 
refuse to hear his messengers, comes home with still more force 
to us, who live in a time when the reproach of the cross is 
lessened, and when his Gospel is preached with greater clear- 
ness. His ambassadors proclaim peace, and their commission 
invests them with such authority that all men are bound to listen 
to them whilst they set forth the way of salvation. They are to 
declare that " the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin," 
and that they who come to the Lord Jesus shall in no wise be 
cast out. They are also to declare that hohness is the charac- 
teristic of the Christian — the inseparable fruit of genuine faith ; 
but if men who " love darkness rather than light," refuse to 
come, because they will not part from their sins, a doom more 
dreadful than that of Sodom awaits them. There is a day com- 
ing when the frequent warnings and invitations of God's faithful 
ministers shall be brought up against the impenitent. Their 
former stings of conscience which reproved them, and which 
they hastily suppressed, shall act as witnesses against them, and 
the books being opened, and the judgment set, they shall receive 
a sentence of condemnation, which their awakened conscience 
must approve. Let us rejoice in the glad tidings that there is 
now in Christ, full, free, and perfect redemption ; and that he 
rejects none who come with an humble, earnest desire of freedom 
from the power, and pardon from the punishment, of sin. 

The martyrdom of John the Baptist next engages our atten- 
tion. The news respecting Christ, which the apostles had spread 
through the country, soon reached the ears of Herod the King. 
It is not easy to meet with a more striking instance than is here 
recorded, of the force of conscience over a guilty mind ; or a 
stronger proof how perpetually it goads the sinner, not only with 
well-grounded apprehensions of impending vengeance, but with 
imaginary terrors and visionary dangers. Herod had been 
married to the daughter of the king of Arabia, but deserted her, 
and formed an adulterous connection with his brother Philip's 
wife. John the Baptist had the honesty and courage, to re- 
])roach the tyrant with the enormity of his guilt — he determined 

* Ecdes. iv. 9. 10. 



CHAP. VI. 30—56.] S. MARK. 183 

to do his duty, and take the consequences. Herod, we are told, 
" observed " John, that is, listened to him with attention and 
with pleasure ; nay, he went further still, " he did many 
things " which John exhorted him to do : perhaps showed more 
compassion to the poor, and more regard to pubhc worship, and 
vainly hoped, like many other audacious sinners, that this par- 
tial reformation would avert the judgments with which John 
threatened him. But the great object of John's reprehension 
was the incestuous adultery in which he lived, and this he would 
not give up. What a picture does this hold out to us, of that 
strange thing called human nature ! and what an exalted idea 
does it give, of the dignity of a truly religious character, like that 
of John, which compels even its bitterest enemies to reverence 
and to fear it, at the very moment, perhaps, when they are medi- 
tating its destruction. How far John might have prevailed over 
Herod at last, it is impossible to say ; but an incident occurred 
which speedily decided his fate. Herod gave a costly entertain- 
ment, at which the daughter of Herodias danced, and so pleased 
him, that he rashly swore he would comply with any request she 
made. Here was an opportunity for Herodias to gratify her 
revenge — she demanded John Baptist's head, and Herod sinfully 
yielded ; the observance of such an oath was worse than the breach 
of it. Of what avail now was Herod's partial compliance with 
John's faithful remonstrance ? He had done " many things," 
but yet spared his darhng lust. Unless our religion enable us 
to give up every known sin, it is totally worthless, and in such 
case, we bear the name of Christian, without belonging to the 
people of Christ. 

Note v. 27. — orireKaXdTwp. In Latin, speculator, a guard or sentinel ; these were 
also employed as executioners. The word implies a state of war. So Herod 
was now at the castle of Machaerus engaged in a war with Aretas, king 
of Arabia, whose daughter he had divorced. See Josephus. Antiq. lib. xviii. 
c. 5. Sec. 1 and 2. 



CHAP. VI. 30-56. 

JESUS SEEKS RETIREMENT FEEDS THE MULTITUDE — WALKS ON THE SEA TO 

HIS DISCIPLES. 

And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all 
things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said 
unto them. Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile : 
for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much 
as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And 



184 S. MARK. [cuAP. vi. 30— 5G. 

the people saw tlieni tleparting, and many knew him, and ran afoot thi- 
ther out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with com- 
passion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd : 
and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far 
spent, his disciples came unto him, and said. This is a desert place, and 
now the time is far passed : Send them away, that they may go into the 
country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread : for 
they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them. Give ye them 
to eat. And they say unto him. Shall we go and buy two hundred penny- 
worth of bread, and give them to eat ? He saith unto them. How many 
loaves have ye ? go and see. And when they knew, they say. Five, and 
two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies 
upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by 
fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he 
looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to 
his disciples to set before them ; and the two fishes divided he among them 
all. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets 
full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the 
loaves were about five thousand men. And straightway he constrained his 
disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Beth- 
saida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, 
he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship 
was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them 
toiling in rowing ; for the wind was contrary unto them : and about the 
fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and 
would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the 
sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out : For they all saw him, 
and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto 
them. Be of good cheer : it is I ; be not afraid. And he went up unto them 
into the ship ; and the wind ceased : and they were sore amazed in them- 
selves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the 
miracle of the loaves : for their heart was hardened. And when they had 
passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. 
And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him. 
And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about 
in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever 
he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the 
streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border 
of his garment : and as .many as touched him were made whole. 

Jesus now invited his disciples to retire with him into a desert 
place, that they might, with him, enjoy a season of meditation 
and secret prayer. Observe, the Christian's rest is to come out 
from the world, and to retire w ith his Saviour in secret. What- 
ever his state of life be, or whatever difficulties harass and per- 
plex him, he has a secret chamber to go to, where he can un- 
bosom his cares, and roll them upon that all-sufficient Saviour, 
who is ever present at such seasons as these. Do you know 
what it is to retire in this manner, and for this purpose ? Have 
you ever answered the Saviour, when he says to you, " come 



CUAP. VI. 30— .56.] S.MARK. 185 

apart, and rest awhile ? " Perhaps you go into the world for 
rest, and try to get rid of the cares of your mind, by a draught 
of its pleasure. Alas ! you know not the true remedy for care : 
this may answer for the moment, but it will leave you more dis- 
tressed in the end. Follow the example of Jesus — go apart from 
the crowd who are coming and going — from the busy, bustling 
scene around — enter into your closet — shut to your door, and 
pour out your soul in prayer — tell your every want and com- 
plaint to the compassionate Jesus ; in this manner you will find 
true and lasting rest, and the more you try it, the oftener will 
you wish to repeat it. 

What a pleasure is it to see persons so anxious for instruction, 
as the people at this time seemed to be ! They had witnessed 
our Lord's departure, and though he had crossed the lake in a 
boat, yet did their desire for instruction give such speed to their 
journey, that they had reached the opposite shore on foot, be- 
fore the boat had arrived. By so doing they interrupted our 
Lord's retirement ; but was he angry on this account, as some 
would be, when their schemes are marred ? No, his compas- 
sionate heart was moved with pity ; he saw they were in earnest, 
when they travelled so far, and so fast, and immediately " he 
began to teach them many things." Another incident is men- 
tioned which proves the anxiety of these persons for instruction ; 
their zeal overcame what, some would say, was their better 
judgment, and they ran, without thinking of the distance they 
were going — the time of the day — or the impossibility of procuring 
provisions in a desert place. Have we any zeal like this ? If 
our bodies had as often been left without food, as our souls have 
been, they would long since have died of starvation. Job says, 
" I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my neces- 
sary food." * The soul can no more live without food than the 
body, and therefore those souls, which are not daily nourished 
by prayer and the Scriptures, are dead. Our Lord seemed de- 
termined that these earnest inquirers should not only get what 
they came for, but should have even more than they expected. 
Their bodily wants had been forgotten by themselves, but not 
by him, for he supplied them. They " sought first the king- 
dom of God and his righteousness, and other things were added 
to them." None shall ever suffer loss who make any sacrifice 
for Christ's sake : " he is able to do exceeding abundantly above 
all we can ask or think.' 

But though our Lord had been interrupted, did he forget his 

* Job xxiii. 12. 



186 S. MARK. [chap. vii. 

retirement ? By no means. " He constrained his disciples to 
get into the ship," and having sent them to sea, remained be- 
hind, alone, after the multitude was dismissed. " When he 
had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray." 
Happy souls, who have had that Spirit put within them, which 
enables them to copy their Master in this love of retirement for 
prayer : they there taste a joy, as far superior to the choicest 
pleasures of the worldly, as the joys of heaven can exceed those 
of earth ; and truly so, for their joy is heavenly. 

After this season of retirement, our blessed Lord returned to 
his disciples, not in the ordinary way, but miraculously " walk- 
ing upon the sea." He first stood upon the shore, and saw 
them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary. Many a 
toilsome hour do the people of the Lord spend, struggling against 
the waves of this world, while the storms of adversity seem 
ready to sink them in the deep. Is this your case ? Be not 
alarmed — there is help at hand — Jesus stands on the shore watch- 
ing you, and even pleading for you when the waves are raging 
high ; he will come in a moment that you least expect, and 
speak these waves into a perfect calm. While in this world, 
you are liable to repeated storms ; but these will serve as trials 
of your faith ; rejoice, that there is a haven before you, where 
all is calm and tranquillity ; there is not a ruffle upon that sea of 
heavenly rest, nor shall an adverse breath of wind ever disturb 
your repose. 



, CHAP. VII. 

THE PHARISEES REPROVED DEPRAVITY OF THE HUMAN HEART THE CANAAN- 

ITe's DAUGHTER HEALED THE DEAF AND DUMB HEALED. 

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the Scribes, which 
came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread 
with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, they found fault. For 
the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, 
holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, 
except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which 
they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen ves- 
sels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and Scribes asked him, Why walk 
not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with 
unwashen hands ? He answered and said unto them. Well hath Esaias 
prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written. This people honoureth me 
with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they 
worship me, teaching /or doctrines the commandments of men. For laying 
aside the commandment of God, ve hold the tradition of men, as the wash- 



HAP. VII.] S. MARK. 187 

iag of pots and cups : and many other such Uke things ye do. And he 
said unto them. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may 
keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy 
mother ; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death : But 
ye say. If a man shall say to his father or mother. It is Corban, that is to 
say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me ; he shall be free. 
And ye suifer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother ; 
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye 
have delivered : and many such like things do ye. And when he had called 
all the people nnto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of 
you, and understand : There is nothing from without a man, that entering 
into him can defile him : but the things which come out of him, those are 
they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 
And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples 
asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so 
without understanding also ? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing 
from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him ; Because it en- 
tereth not into bis heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, 
purging all meats ? And he said. That which cometh out of the man, that 
defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil 
thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wicked- 
ness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness : All 
these evil thhigs come from within, and defile the man. And from thence 
he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into 
an house, and would have no man know it : but he could not be hid. For 
a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of 
him, and came and fell at his feet : The woman was a Greek, a Syropheni- 
cian by nation ; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil 
out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her. Let the children first be 
filled : for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto 
the dogs. And she answered and said unto him. Yes, Lord : yet the dogs 
under the table eat of the children's crumbs. And he said unto her. For 
this saving go thy way ; the de^il is gone out of thy daughter. And when 
she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter 
laid upon the bed. And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and 
Sidon, he came into the sea of Gahlee, through the midst of the coasts of 
DecapoUs. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impe- 
diment in his speech ; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 
And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, 
and he spit and touched his tongue ; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, 
and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is. Be opened. And straightway his 
ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake 
plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man : but the more 
he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it ; And 
were beyond measure astonished, saying. He hath done all things well : he 
maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. 



The Jewish traditions which our Lord opposed, were certain 
observances of rites and ceremonies, handed down from father 
to son, which the Jew^s supposed had been delivered by Moses, 
though not contained in his writings, and which they regarded 
as of equal authority with the written word of God. Of such 



188 S. MARK. [chap. vu. 

our Lord says : " Full well ye reject the commandment of God, 
that ye may keep your own traditions ; " and again : " in vain 
do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of 
men." Let those persons who add any thing to the written word 
of God, and those, too, who observe such human additions, 
carefully consider the threatenings of the Lord, declared at the 
end of the Bible : " I testify unto every man that heareth the 
words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto 
these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are 
written in this book," * 

Jesus then turning from the Scribes and Pharisees, whom he 
had been addressing, next applied himself to the multitude — 
the poor and illiterate crowd that surrounded him, and in a for- 
cible manner exposed the errors of their false teachers, even 
within their hearing. He tells them that what they had heard 
from these teachers, was not agreeable to the word of God — 
that pollution, or uncleanness, did not spring from the neglect 
of human impositions, such as eating with unwashed, hands, or 
eating one kind of food, and abstaining from another, but that 
the true source of all iniquity was that evil heart which dwells 
in every man, and from which, as from a polluted fountain, all 
the streams of sin and error flow. Who can read that black 
catalogue of vices which our Lord details as flowing from the 
heart of man, and afterwards speak of the goodness of the hu- 
man heart ? It is true some persons may have more natural 
kindness, benevolence, and amiability than others ; but no one 
who knows his own heart, will ever call the heart of another 
good. The apostle Paul describes himself in a very different 
way : "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no 
good thing." 'j^ The hearts of all, without distinction, are 
naturally corrupt. These hearts must be changed by the re- 
newing influence of God's Holy Spirit — the love of sin must be 
dethroned, and the love of holiness exalted in its place ; yet 
still the Christian is conscious of so much imperfection, that he 
groans under the hardness of his heart, and longs for that 
glorious rest where he shall be perfectly free from all impure 
thoughts, desires, and inclinations. 

Jesus having arrived in that part of Galilee which bordered 
on Tyre and Sidon, went into a house, desirous of avoiding 
the multitude for a time ; but his fame had spread so far, that 
he could not remain in concealment. A poor woman, whose 

* Rev. xxii. 18, 10. t Rom. vii. 18. % Jor. xvii. !). 



CHAP, vii.] S. MARK. 18!) 

distress was such as no human power could reheve, came to him. 
" She heard of him, and came and fell at his feet." What made 
this woman's application to Christ the more remarkable, was 
that she did not belong to the Jewish nation, and therefore 
could not be expected to know much of him : but her conduct 
shamed those Jews who rejected him, and her faith will rise in 
judgment against them. There are numbers of the poor hea- 
then in the present day, who hear of Jesus from the faithful 
missionary, and rejoice in the blessings of the Gospel, who may 
well shame nominal Christians, and who, from the improvement 
of scanty opportunities, will rise to condemn those of us, who 
squander our privileges, and who, living in the midst of plenty, 
suffer our souls to die of starvation. This Gentile woman was 
sensible that she had nothing to claim from Jesus, and although, 
in order to try her faith, he seemed to disregard her, yet did 
she earnestly beg for the crumbs of mercy that might fall from 
the tables of the more favoured Jews. Nor did she beg in vain. 
Her request was, that the devil might be cast out of her daughter, 
and that request was granted. The greatest blessing that 
parents can ask for their children is, that the Lord Jesus would 
break the power of sin in their hearts — that he would cast out 
the unclean spirit, and make their hearts the temple of his 
Holy Spirit. Let such parents as desire this portion for their 
children, be encouraged in their application to the Saviour. 
He may seem to neglect their prayers for a season, but in due 
time " they shall reap if they faint not." 

Among the many prophecies of Christ, it had been foretold, 
that by his power " the ears of the deaf should be unstopped," 
" and the tongue of the dumb sing," * and now this pro- 
phecy was fulfilled. " There was brought to him a man who was 
deaf, and had an impediment in his speech," and after a simple 
process, which would have been quite inefficient in other hands, 
" his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, 
and he spake plain. The internal impediments to the receiving 
of the Gospel, can be as effectually removed by the Spirit of 
Christ, as those bodily impediments were by the word of his 
power. He can open the heart as he did Lydia's, and thereby 
the ear will be open to receive his word,t and the mouth to 
speak in prayer and praise. Better would it be for us to have 
been born deaf and dumb, than having the use of our hearing — 
to hear the Gospel in vain ; or the use of speech — to abuse it 

* Isaiah xxxv. 5, (3. t Acts xvi. 14, 15. 



190 S. MARK. [chap. viii. 1—20. 

by idle and sinful conversation, or not to employ it in the service 
of the Lord. 



CHAP. VIIL 1-26. 



CHRIST FEEDETH THE PEOPLE MIRACULOUSLY THE BLIND MAN BROUGHT TO 

CHRIST SIGHT RESTORED TO HIM. 

In those days, the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, 
Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion 
on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and 
have nothing to eat : And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, 
they will faint by the way : for divers of them came from far. And his 
disciples answered him. From whence can a man satisfy these men with 
bread here in the vdldemess ? And he asked them, How many loaves have 
ye ? And they said. Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down 
on the ground : and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, 
and gave to his disciples to set before them ; and they did set them before 
the people. And they had a few small fishes : and he blessed, and com- 
manded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled : 
and they took up of the broken vieat that was left, seven baskets. And 
they that had eaten were about four thousand : and he sent them away. 
And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into 
the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to 
question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And 
he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek 
after a sign ? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this 
generation. And he left them, and, entering into the ship again, departed 
to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither 
had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, 
saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven 
of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying. It is because we 
have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them. Why reason 
ye because ye have no bread ? perceive ye not yet, neither understand ? 
have ye your heart yet hardened ? Having eyes, see ye not ? and having 
ears, hear ye not ? and do ye not remember ? When I brake the five 
loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye 
up ? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thou- 
sand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up ? And they said. 
Seven. And he said unto them. How is it that ye do not understand ? 
And he cometh to Bethsaida ; and they bring a blind man unto him, and 
besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and 
led him out of the town ; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his 
hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought ? And he looked up, and 
said, I see men, as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon 
his eyes, and made him look up : and he was restored, and saw every man 
clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the 
town, nor tell it to any in the town. 

The bounty of Christ is inexhaustible, and to evidence that, he 
repeated a miracle, which, more than others, is calculated to 



CHAP. viir. 1— 2G.] S. MARK. lf)l 

show his people that they shall never want ; for " in him all ful- 
ness dwells." It was but a short time since we heard of a miracu- 
lous supply having been provided for his congregation in a desert 
place : but much as we admire their diligent attention, even to 
the neglect of their temporal wants, the zeal of the persons here 
mentioned, far surpassed theirs : — " they had now been with him 
three days, and had nothing to eat." Let not the Pharisees then 
say that Christ's disciples fast not : they would rather let their 
bodies want food, than be deprived of their Lord's instruction. 
True zeal makes nothing of hardships in the way of duty, and 
slender provision will satisfy the Christian, who is anxious to 
partake of a spiritual feast. Jesus " had compassion on the 
multitude ; " he could not find in his heart to send them empty 
away : and is his heart less tender and affectionate now? does he 
look with less concern on those who long for instruction, and en- 
dure privations for the sake of it? undoubtedly not ; he is " the 
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ; " he has said, " wait on 
the Lord," be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine 
heart," * and sooner shall the foundations of the earth be re- 
moved, than one of his words fail. Therefore " wait on the 
Lord," and be assured that whatever losses you may sustain, or 
hardships you may undergo in your search after truth, you shall 
be more than repaid, in the pleasure which the acquisition will 
provide. 

The miracle which our Lord wrought, in restoring sight to 
this blind man, is recorded by St. Mark alone. The circum- 
stances which attended it were somewhat singular. It does not 
appear that the man himself showed any anxiety for, or expec- 
tation of, a cure, as other blind men did. He was taken hy his 
friends ; the faith was theirs — the request was theirs, and the 
Saviour acted upon it. This holds out an encouraging example 
to parents and members of a Christian Church, to present their 
children to God in baptism — the latter cannot exercise faith and 
repentance for themselves, but they should be dedicated to the 
Lord in this initiatory and solemn sacrament, and a blessing 
may be expected, where faith and prayer are used in their 
behalf. It also affords an instructive and consoling lesson to 
those persons who are mourning over the spiritual bhndness of 
their dear relatives or friends. They may show no concern for 
their state — no anxiety about religion — no love for the Saviour 
— nay, they may even reject, or ridicule, the kindest admoni- 

* Psalm xxvii. 14. 



192 S. MARK. [chap. viii. 1— 2U. 

tions. Do any of you suffer under a trial of this nature ? Be 
comforted. You know their state, and the power of Jesus to 
heal. Carry them in the arms of faith — lay them, in prayer, at 
the feet of Jesus — ask him to restore their sight ; and thus you 
may benefit them unknown to themselves. 

Another remarkable circumstance attending this miracle was, 
that it was done gradually. After the first process of anointing 
the man's eyes, our Lord inquired " if he saw ought." " He 
looked up and said, I see men, as trees, walking : " again, our 
Lord put his hands upon his eyes to disperse the remaining 
darkness, and then bade him look up, and " he saw every man 
clearly." * Thus Christ would show us in what method those 
are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind : 
He must remove the scales from the mind's eye and command 
the hght of the Holy Spirit to shine into the heart. The mean- 
est instruments may be employed for this purpose, and any thing 
in Christ's hands will be effectual. The knowledge of the per- 
son is at first confused ; he sees " men, as trees, walking ; " but 
the light of the Spirit, like the light of the morning, " shines 
more and more unto the perfect day," and then he sees all things 
clearly. He clearly sees his own lost state, and clearly sees the 
Saviour. Let us inquire if we see ought of spiritual things ; has 
our natural blindness been removed ? If not, Christ is at hand 
to heal us, and if, through grace, the work has commenced, we 
may trust that we shall see yet more and more, for Christ will 
perfect his own work. 

The Lord commanded this man when restored to sight, to go 
to his own home and not to publish it in the town. The reason 
of this seems to be, that Bethsaida had rejected the word of 
the Lord, and therefore was now justly denied a fresh oppor- 
tunity of hearing of the Redeemer's wonderful works. It might 
be also, that our Lord thought this man was unfit to be a witness 
for him until further instruction was given to him, and therefore 
he would rather send him to meditate and pray. " Retirement 
of one sort or another is, as it were, necessary after conversion. 
When a man has once received the knowledge of the truth, he 
must long meditate upon it in private, feed, and in silence let 
it take deep root in his heart before he speaks of it. There is 
an eagerness to impart it to others, which does not proceed from 

* TriXavyZs — a compound word, signifying clear and far, which are the quali- 
ties of perfect sight. Theophylact says, that the blind man's want of faith 
induced our Lord to cure him by degrees, not in the city, for Bethsaida was under 
a woe. — Matt. xi. 21. " . " 



CHAF. viir. 27—38.] S. MARK. 193 

God, and may be prejudicial to beginners." * Let us remember 
that zeal to be useful must be tempered with knowledge, and 
follow implicitly the guidance of God. 



CHAP. VIII. 27—38. 

CHRIST PREDICTETH HIS SUFFERINGS URGETH TO BOLDNESS AND FIDELITY. 

And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cesarea Philippi : 
and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men 
say that I am ? And they answered, John the Baptist : but some say, 
Elias ; and others. One of the prophets. And he saith unto them. But 
whom say ye that I am ? And Peter answereth and saith unto him. Thou 
art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 
And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, 
and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be 
killed ; and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. 
And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned 
about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying. Get thee be- 
hind me, Satan : for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but 
the things that be of men. And when he had called the people unto him, 
with his disciples also, he said unto them, "Whosoever will come after me, 
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoso- 
ever will save his life shall lose it ; but whosoever shall lose his life for my 
sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a 
man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what 
shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? Whosoever therefore shall be 
ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of 
him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of 
his Father with the holy angels. 

The wisdom of our blessed Lord was remarkable, in suiting 
his instruction to the strength of his disciples. When the time 
came that they should hear of his sufferings, he did not conceal 
it. Peter, although foremost in making a confession of his 
divinity, soon betrayed his ignorance, for he " rebuked " the 
Saviour when he spoke of his sufferings, as if it were beneath his 
dignity. We may feel surprised that Peter should be still 
ignorant of our Lord's approaching death and sufferings — 
especially after making such a clear confession of his person. 
We must remember, however, that the apostles only received 
Christ's revelation by degrees, and were not infallible teachers 
until the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus gave 
him a sharp rebuke for the very purpose of shewing that men 
would make fatal mistakes in religion without the guidance of 

* See Quesnell on St. Mark. 
VOL. I. 



394 S. MARK. [chap. via. 27—38. 

his own Spirit. He even calls Peter by the name of Satan, be- 
cause this great adversary of God and man was unwilling that 
Christ should suffer and the race of man be saved — so far then 
as Peter was unwilling that Christ should suffer, so far he 
savoured of the things of Satan and of carnal men and deserved 
to be called an adversary. Ill would it have been, both for 
Peter and for us, had Jesus shrunk from his arduous task. But 
he did not — the cup of suffering which was put into his hand, 
he drank to the very dregs. And as he, their master, suffered, 
so must his disciples likewise expect sorrow. — " Whosoever 
will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross 
and follow me." Those who expect to share the blessings of 
Christ's kingdom, must share his sufferings now, not indeed in 
the same way — his were propitiatory sorrows — theirs, to prove 
and purify them. He paid the penalty due to our sins — his 
disciples suffer the rod of fatherly correction. Every Christian 
has a cross of some kind to bear, either inwardly or outwardly ; 
but the more he keeps his journey's end in view, the less shall 
he suffer from the weight of his cross. Let us only bear in 
mind the inestimable value of the soul, and we shall count the 
suffering's of this state as nothing in comparison with the glory 
that shall be revealed.* No one can adequately prize the 
eternity of joy promised to God's people ; yet milHons lose 
their souls for the sake of the most trivial gain, or the most 
worthless indulgence, as the price at which Satan purchases 
their souls. Indulged sin may be pleasant now, but it will 
cause unutterable woe when the never-dying worm of remorse 
shall gnaw the mind with the bitter reflection, that for a momen- 
tary gratification, the soul has been lost beyond the power of 
recovery. 

See then what you are to expect, if you would be Christ's 
true disciples. Cast your accounts before hand, what the pro- 
fession of Christ will cost thee. It is good wisdom to prepare 
before hand for that which must come. If we will be true 
Christians, the cross must come to us and we must come to it, 
yea we must come under it ; every one of us in our time and 
measure — we must endure not one or few, but many and 
grievous troubles both outward and inward. If we follow 
Christ, we must go the same way which he went before us — 
the way of the cross to the kingdom of glory. t 

The last verse of this chapter speaks forcibly to those who 

* Rom. viii. 18. f See Petter on St. Mark. 



CHAP. IX. 1—29.] S. Mv^RK. 195 

allow the fear of man to damp their zeal, and who hold back 
from real and hearty decision in the cause of God. It is not 
possible to be faithi'ul to Christ, and at the same time to avoid 
the censures of the world. The only alternative is, to " be 
faithful unto death," or to lose his favor. The fearful and unbe- 
lieving must take their portion together in the lake of fire and 
brimstone. Let us then beseech of God to endue us with cou- 
rage, that we may " set our faces like a flint " against the " sin- 
ful generation " in which we live. Let us pray that with the 
apostle Paul, each of us may be enabled to say — " I am not 
ashamed of the Gospel of Christ — for it is the power of God to 
salvation to every one that believeth." We shall then rather 
glory that we are counted worthy to suffer for his sake, and that 
we are honoured in being thus conformed to his suiferings.* 



CHAP. IX. 1—29. 

JESUS IS TRANSFIGURED HIS ATTENDANTS ON THE MOUNT THE FATIIEr's 

TESTIMONY A DEAF AND DUMB SPIRIT CAST OUT. 

And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that there he some of them 
that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the 
kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with 
him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high moun- 
tain apart by themselves ; and he was transfigured before them. And his 
raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow ; so as no fuller on earth 
can white them. And there appeared unto them EUas with Moses ; and 
they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, 
Master, it is good for us to be here : and let us make three tabernacles : 
one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what 
to say : for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that over- 
shadowed them : and a voice came out of the cloud, saying. This is my 
beloved Son ; hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, 
they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. And as they 
came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no 
man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the 
dead. iVnd they kept that sapng with themselves, questioning one with 
another what the rising from the dead should mean. And they asked him, 
saying. Why say the scribes that Elias must first come ? And he answered 
and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things ; and how 
it is written of the Son of man, that he must suifer many things, and be set 
at nought. But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come, and they have 
done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him. And when 
he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the 
scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they 
beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And 

* Acts v. 41. 
O 2 



lOG S. MARK. [chap. ix. 1—29. 

he asked the scribes, "What question ye with them f And one of the multi- 
tude answered and said. Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which 
hath a dumb spirit : And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him ; and 
he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away : and I spake 
to thy disciples that they should cast him out ; and they could not. He 
answereth him and saith, O faithless generation ! how long shall I be with 
you ? how long shall I suffer you ? bring him unto me. And they brought 
him unto him : and when he saw Mm, straightway the spirit tare him ; 
and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his 
father, How long is it ago since this came unto him ? And he said, Of a 
child : And oft-times it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to 
destroy him ; but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and 
help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible 
to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, 
and said, with tears. Lord, I believe ; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus 
saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, 
saying unto him. Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of 
him, and enter no more into him. And tlie spirit cried, and rent him sore, 
and came out of him : and he was as one dead ; insomuch that many said. 
He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and hfted him up ; and he 
arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him 
privately, Why could not we cast him out ? And he said unto them. This 
kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting. 

The event of our Lord's transfiguration is capable of yielding us 
important instruction in many particulars. The apostles had 
seen their Master daily, in " the form of a servant," and as the 
Son of man ; but on this occasion they " beheld his glory — the 
glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father," and had such a 
discovery of him , in the form of God, as they were not able to 
sustain. His disguise was, as it were, laid aside, and he ap- 
peared like himself — " the Sun of Righteousness ; " shining 
forth from behind those clouds which commonly obscured his 
splendour. " The fashion of his countenance was altered," and 
" did shine as the sun." The glorious appearance of Christ 
was calculated to give the apostles some faint conception of his 
divine majesty, and this vision on the mount of transfiguration, 
would serve to support their faith, when called to witness the 
horrors of Mount Calvary. 

Two attendants from the invisible world — Moses and Elias, 
wait upon their master. They too came in glory, but their 
glory was only borrowed from the Saviour. It was inferior to 
his, as the planets are less resplendent than the noon-day sun, 
from which they derive their lustre, and by whose beams they 
are eclipsed. Moses was the great law-giver of Israel, and 
Ehjah the chief of the prophets, but they both came to lay 
down tlieir commissions at the Redeemer's feet, in whose person, 
and obedience unto death, the moral law was magnified— the 



CHAP. IX. 1—29] S. MARK. 197 

ceremonial types were fulfilled — and the prophecies were accom- 
plished. Thus Moses and Elijah bare witness with the apostles, 
that Jesus would come in power and great glory — and thus the 
law, the prophets, and the gospel light, all direct us to Jesus as 
the bright and morning Star — at whose second coming the 
kingdom of Messiah shall be set forth in all its fulness.* Such 
pleasure did this glorious sight impart to the three apostles who 
were with him on the mount, that Peter, who spoke for the rest, 
begged that they might be allowed to remain where they were. 
But though there was a great deal of ignorance and error in this 
rash request of Peter's, yet may we learn much from it. His 
pleasure on the mount, made him forget all earthly connections. 
Just so is it with the person who, by faith, has seen the glory 
of Jesus. He then discovers an importance — a reality in reli- 
gion, that he never saw before, and his whole thoughts are so 
absorbed in the subject — the danger he has escaped, and the 
joy he has obtained — that earthly things lose their influence. 
He once enjoyed the world's pleasures, but it was during his 
night of ignorance. Now, " the day-spring from on high hath 
visited him," the knowledge of a Saviour, and the pleasure of 
spiritual communion, with him, entirely eclipse the former objects 
of his choice, and he gladly exchanges all that he formerly held 
dear, for the possession of this newly-discovered treasure. Re- 
collect, that reason, as well as revelation, approve such a choice, 
while both condemn those who prefer the mire of this earth to 
the glorious views on the mount of Communion. 

In addition to the glorious majesty of the Lord Jesus on the 
mount, there came a voice from heaven which attested his divi- 
nity — God the Father declared him to be his " beloved Son, in 
whom he was well pleased." Well might the disciples fall on 
their faces, and " be sore afraid." But if they who were his 
friends and associates, trembled at his glory, what terror and 
dismay shall seize his enemies, when he comes again in the 
clouds of heaven, not with two attendants, but with ten thou- 
sand of his saints, " to be admired in all them that believe," and 
to take vengeance on those who loved the world in preference 
to him ! 

After our Lord's glory had disappeared, and he was come 
down from the mount, he found his disciples busily engaged in 
disputation with the Scribes, who, it would seem, had taken advan- 



* See the Comments of the inspired apostle on our Lord's transfiguration. 
2 Peter i. 16—19. 



158 S. MARK. [chap. ix. 80—50. 

tage of their Master's absence, to perplex them in their conversa- 
tion. He inquired the subject of dispute, but it does not appear 
that any reply was given to his question ; upon which, a person 
present took advantage of the silence, to plead in behalf of his 
child, who was possessed with an evil spirit, which deprived him 
of speech and hearing ; and this he did the more anxiously, as 
he had failed in obtaining assistance from the disciples, to whom 
he had previously applied. Our Lord attributed their failure to 
a deficiency in their faith, and states that such an inveterate 
case as this, could not be removed without more than ordinary 
exercise in private devotion and self-denial. Upon this he 
manifested his superior power by commanding the unclean spirit 
to depart, and it obeyed him. The expressions of earnest en- 
treaty which this parent used in behalf of his son, may furnish 
prayers for such parents as are anxious for the spiritual improve- 
ment of their children — " Master, I have brought unto thee 
my son." " If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, 
and help us." " He cried out, and said with tears — Lord, I 
believe, help thou mine unbelief." These supphcations were 
not despised — the Lord heard and answered ; — what an en- 
couragement for the children of want and sorrow to plead with 
the compassionate High Priest of our profession ! 



CHAP. IX. 30—50. 



CHRIST EXHORTS HIS DISCIPLES TO HUMILITY BIDS THEM NOT TO PROHIBIT 

SUCH AS ARE NOT AGAINST HIM NOR TO GIVE OFFENCE TO WEAK BELIEVERS. 

And they departed thence, and passed through Gahlee ; and he would not that 
any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, 
The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him ; 
and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they under- 
stood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. And he came to Caper- 
naum : and being in the house, he asked them, What was it that ye dis- 
puted among yourselves by the way 1 But they held their peace : for by 
the way they had disputed among themselves who should be the greatest. 
And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them. If any man 
desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he 
took a child, and set him in the midst of them : and when he had taken 
him in his arms, he said unto them. Whosoever shall receive one of such 
children in my name, receiveth me : and whosoever shall receive me, rc- 
ceiveth not me, but him that sent me. And John answered him, saying. 
Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he foUoweth not 
us : and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said. 
Forbid him not : for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name 
that can lightly s]»eak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our 



CHAP. IX. 30—50.] S. MARK. 199 

part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, 
because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, He shall not lose his 
reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in 
me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he 
were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off : it is better 
for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into 
the fire that never shall be quenched ; Where their worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off : it is 
better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into 
hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched ; Where their worm dieth 
not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it 
out : it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, 
than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire ; Where their worm dieth not, 
and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted vdth fire, and 
every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good : but if the salt have 
lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it ? Have salt in yourselves, 
and have peace one with another. 

Nothing can be more contrary to the two great laws of Christ's 
kingdom, which are, humilitii and love, than desiring prefer- 
ment in the world, and disputing about it. Yet were the disci- 
ples guilty of both. Our Lord privately inquired what it was 
that they disputed among themselves by the way. He knew 
very well what it was, but he would have them confess their 
fault and folly ; " but they held their peace," ashamed to own 
their pride, and, as if to mark his displeasure at any assumption 
of authority by one over the rest, " he sat down and called the 
twelve, and saith unto them, if any man desire to be first, the 
same shall be last of all, and servant of all." This proves, beyond 
a doubt, that there was no chief, or prince among the apostles — 
that Peter was not chief, and therefore that the man who claims 
a title to authority over all churches, upon the ground of 
Peter's supremacy, builds without a shadow of authority from. 
Scripture ; he may claim for himself the title of Universal Bishop, 
but he only seals his own condemnation, for " if any man desire 
to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." If 
there was to be any primacy among the apostles, why was Christ, 
on this occasion, silent respecting it ? or if he had, in the hear- 
ing of the others, conferred it on Peter, what occasion could 
there have been for the apostles to dispute about it ? The 
person who shall be highest in the kingdom of Christ, is he 
who is lowest in his own estimation. " Every one that exalteth 
himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be 
exalted." 

Although the disciples were ashamed to own their contests for 
preferment, yet they seemed willing to assume authority on ac- 



200 S. MARK. [chap. ix. 30—50. 

count of their office, and even to boast of their exercise of it. 
*' Master," says John, " we saw one casting out devils in thy 
name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not us." Our 
Lord's reply is well worth the careful consideration of those, who 
would confine salvation to their own narrow views — " Forbid 
him not " — " he that is not against us, is on our part." Our 
opposition should only be against those who oppose the Lord 
Jesus, and not against those who differ with us on non-essential 
matters ; and we should not hinder any who are labouring to de- 
stroy the kingdom of Satan, though they follow not us. John 
acted as Joshua once did, concerning Eldad and Medad, who 
prophesied in the camp, and went not up with the rest to the 
door of the tabernacle. He said, " My Lord Moses, forbid them : 
and Moses said unto him, enviest thou for my sake ? Would to 
God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord 
would put his Spirit upon them." * Moses rebuked the same 
spirit in Joshua which our Lord did in John. We are too apt 
to imagine that those do not follow Christ at all, who do not fol- 
low him luith us, and that they do nothing well, who do not just 
as we do. This instance may give us a needful caution not to 
cultivate unity for the sake of maintaining a party spirit, nor too 
hastily to condemn others, if they do not precisely walk in our path. 
The passage does not encourage schism or needless divisions, 
but teaches us to cherish toleration towards others who may differ 
from us ; we should be faithful to Christ without harshness, and 
charitable without compromise.! 

The solemn warnings which are contained in the latter part of 
this chapter, seem to have arisen out of the carnal expectations 
of the apostles, which led them into many mistakes both of judg- 
ment and practice ; but, though primarily addressed to them, we 
are deeply interested in the instruction which they convey. Our 
Lord would have us to know that all evil propensities most be 
mortified and cut off, and this he illustrates by the common prac- 
tice of cutting off a diseased member, in order to the saving of a 
person's life. Various are the objects of temptation around us ; 
yea, the very things which were intended by Providence for our 
furtherance in religion, are converted by sin to the very opposite 
purpose. But whatever interferes with our spiritual improve- 
ment, must at once be removed. Do our interests betray us 

* Numb. xi. 28, 20. 
t Christ's speech in tlie defence of him that did the miracles, tendeth not to 
approve of all as his real friends, who arc not open enemies, but he denieth that 
they do rightly, which ))y any means hinder the propagation of tlic kingdom of 
God. — Calvin. 



CHAP. X. 1—81.] S.MARK. 201 

into sin ? Are we engaged in any trade or calling, which we 
cannot follow without doing what the word of God and our own 
consciences condemn ; or, have we prospects in life which must 
be sacrificed if we follow the Lord fully ? There must be no 
hesitation on this point ; we must pluck out our right eye, and 
cut off the right hand, and cast them from us with abhorrence, 
rather than suffer them to warp our judgment, or defile our con- 
science. As there is nothing which will compensate for the loss 
of our souls, so should we allow nothing to stand between us and 
the commands of God. It is not man, but God, that requires 
these things, and he has promised that his grace shall be suffi- 
cient for us. Let each of us say with Paul, " I can do all things 
through Christ which streno^theneth me." 

The future anguish of those who sell their souls for some pre- 
sent gratification, is strongly painted in the concluding verses, 
*' their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Doubt- 
less, remorse of conscience, and keen self-reflection, constitute 
this never-dying worm — the gnawing self-reproach for convic- 
tions slighted — warnings disregarded — opportunities irrecove- 
rably lost ; and all, as lasting as are the pleasures of the re- 
deemed. " Every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacri- 
fice " shall be salted with salt." The sacrifices under the law 
were commanded to be salted with salt.* This was an emblem 
of grace, which renders the sanctified soul meet for the enjoy- 
ment of its incorruptible inheritance. The text declares also, 
that " every one shall be salted with fire," which seems to refer 
to the wicked, and the word " salted " would imply the incorrup- 
tible nature of the tormenting fire.f Let us seek that grace 
which prepares for unchangeable glory, and dread sin, which 
will cast so many into the unquenchable fire. 



CHAP. X. 1—31. 

TOUCHING MARRIAGE AND DIVORCEMENT CHRIST BLESSETH YOUNG CHILDREN 

THE YOUNG RULER INSTRUCTED DEVOTEDNESS TO GOD REQUIRED. 

And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther 
side of Jordan : and the people resort unto him again ; and, as he was 

* Lev. ii. 13. 
t By salt (says Bede) understand the spirit of wisdom and grace ; and by 
fire, tribulation, whereby the patience of the faithful is exercised, that they may 
have a perfect wuik. Chrysostom takes the same view of this difficult verse. 
But see Lightfoot and Whitby in defence of the view given above. 



202 S. MARK. chap. x. 1—31. 

wont, he taught them again. And the Pharisees came to him and asked 
him. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife ? tempting him. And he 
answered and said unto them. What did Moses command you ? And they 
said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 
And Jesus answered and said unto them. For the hardness of your heart 
he wrote you this precept : But from the begiuning of the creation God 
made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father 
and mother, and cleave to his wife ; And they twain shall be one flesh : so 
then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath 
joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples 
asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them. Whosoever 
shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against 
her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to 
another, she committeth adultery. x\nd they brought young children to 
him, that he should touch them : and his disciples rebuked those that 
brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said 
unto them. Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ; 
for of svTch is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever 
shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter 
therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and 
blessed them. And when he was gone forth into the Avay, there came one 
running, and kneeled to him, and asked him. Good Master, what shall I 
do that I may inherit eternal life ? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest 
thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou kuowest 
the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill, Do not steal. 
Do not bear false witness, Defraud not. Honour thy father and mother. 
And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed 
from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him. 
One thing thou lackest : go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give 
to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven : and come, take up 
the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away 
grieved ; for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, 
and saith unto his disciples. How hardly shall they that have riches enter 
into the kingdom of God ! And the disciples were astonished at his words. 
But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them. Children, how hard is it 
for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God. It is easier 
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter 
into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, say- 
ing among themselves, Who then can be saved ? And Jesus looking upon 
them saith. With men it is impossible, but not with God : for with God 
all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have 
left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I 
say unto you. There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, 
or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the 
gospel's, But he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, houses, 
and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with per- 
secutions ; and in the world to come, eternal life. But many that are first 
shall be last ; and the last first. 

Human depravity has deranged the appointments of the all- 
wise Creator, and perverted them to the introduction of accumu- 
lated misery : but the Gospel of Christ, when it acts influentially 
on the heart, teaches men to " deny ungodliness and worldly 



CHAP. X. 1—31.] S. MARK. 203 

lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present 
world." The sacred energy of true rehgion renders men affec- 
tionate relatives and faithful friends, and effectually operates in 
destroying all those evil tempers, which are so destructive to the 
peace of domestic harmony. Happy is it to see those who are 
united by the ties of marriage, drawn together by the still stronger 
bonds of grace ; and we may fearlessly assert, that if the power 
of true religion were more generally felt, there would be less oc- 
casion for those permissions to dissolve the sacred contract, 
which are, at times, unhappily requested. 

The conduct of those persons who brought their children to 
the Saviour for his blessing, is recorded for the imitation of all 
parents : for what should they so much wish for their children, as 
to place them in the arms of Jesus, and find room for them in 
his fold. Christ has informed us, " of such is the kingdom of 
God." This is true in a double sense : little children brought 
in faith to baptism are regenerate, and grafted into the body of 
Christ's church. And they are truly members of Christ, who 
receive the kingdom of God in child-like humility. No passage 
can be more encouraging on the subject of infant baptism, for we 
" perceive how by his outward gesture and deed, Christ declared 
his good-will towards them ; for he embraced them in his arms : 
he laid his hands upon them and blessed them." * The parent 
who seeks for his children the blessing's of religion, and whose 
efforts are crowned with success, has the happiness of knowing 
that they are placed above the uncertainties of life, that they 
have an unfading treasure — a principle which will regulate them 
in prosperity, and support them in adversity. 

It is never known what a man is, till he is tried ; this is 
strikingly manifest in the case before us : a young man came 
running to our Lord, which proved his anxiety ; he had been 
a strict observer of the moral precepts, so that he was considered 
to be a most amiable character, and so far our Lord was pleased 
with him, and even said to love him. Thus he might have 
passed for the most excellent of human beings, had he not been 
brought to the touchstone, and suffered to manifest the real dis- 
position of his heart. But after enumerating all the command- 
ments which he fancied he had blamelessly kept, our Lord told 
him that one thing was wanting — that he must sell all his pos- 
sessions, and give them to the poor. This was a trial which he 



* See the Exhortation iu the Ministration of Public Baptism of Infants. 
Book of Common Fravcr. 



204 S. MARK. [chap. x. 1—31. 

could not stand. It must be confessed that the command was 
difficult to obey — to exchange wealth for poverty — ease for 
trouble — and homage, for contempt. But was it unreasonable? 
No ; from whom had he received his wealth ? and had not God 
a right to recall what he had only lent ? had not God as much 
right to disperse his wealth among the poor, as he before had to 
accumulate it upon one single man ? Our Lord's reason for sub- 
jecting him to this trial was, to convince him of his sins and 
short-comings in the view of God's holy law. It is remarkable 
that Christ tried him by the second table of the commandments 
— which contains man's duty to his neighbour ; and by his not 
selling all and distributing his property to the poor, it shewed 
that he neither loved God perfectly, nor his neighbour as him- 
self So soon does God convict us of sin, when tried by this 
perfect standard of right and wrong. Our Lord's command 
filled him with grief: "he was sad at that saying;" he was 
grieved at the strictness of the precept. " He had great posses- 
sions," and could not prevail upon himself to part with them. 
His riches were his idol ; had he been called on to sacrifice a 
part of his property, he would, probably, have acquiesced in the 
command, but to bereave himself of all — to reduce himself to a 
state of poverty for Christ's sake, this he could not comply with. 
Such is the state of many at this time ; they would gladly make 
some sacrifices to obtain spiritual blessings, but to renounce the 
world — to mortify their lusts — and to bring upon themselves 
nothing but contempt and persecution, appears too great a sacri- 
fice, and they hope to get to heaven upon easier terms. The 
young man " went away grieved ; " much as he revered the 
Lord Jesus, and wished to partake of his salvation, he could not 
continue with him on such terms as these. The price was too 
high for him, and therefore he turned his back upon him. Un- 
happy youth ! how much better would it have been for him, if 
he had been born in a low estate ! what a curse to him were his 
riches, which stood between him and the Saviour ! 

Judging from this young man's case, how dangerous must the 
state of many be who think themselves safe. He went to a 
great extent of reverence for Christ — he appeared to be desirous 
of eternal life — but " one thing he lacked," and thus came short 
of the blessing. O that those who pride themselves on their out- 
ward morality, without a deep sense of sin, or a simple depend- 
ance on the strength of Christ, would consider this case and take 
warning from his example. Every one is not called to the same 
test as he was, viz. to sell all they have and give to the poor, but 



CHAP. X. 32—52.] S. MARK. 205 

there must be in every Christian such a love for the Saviour, and 
for his commands, that, if placed in such circumstances as would 
require him to part with all earthly treasures and connections, 
rather than break his laws, he should at once obey. Let no 
Christian fear to make any sacrifice for Christ's sake — he can 
make all grace to abound, and if he does not recompense in one 
way, he will in another — by giving contentment, which, with god- 
liness, is great gain ; and above all, by bestowing the treasure 
which waxeth not old, even eternal life. Let any one who has 
made a sacrifice for the Gospel's sake, say, whether he has not 
received " an hundred fold " greater than all he ever derived 
from the possession of earthly comforts, even in their richest 
abundance ? 



CHAP. X. 32—52. 



JAMES AND JOHN SEEK THE HIGHEST PLACES IN CHRIST S KINGDOM 

BARTIM^US RESTORED TO SIGHT, 

And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem ; and Jesus went before 
them : and they were amazed ; and as they followed, they were afraid. 
And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should 
happen unto him. Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son 
of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes ; and 
they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles : 
And they shall mock liim, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, 
and shall kill him : and the third day he shall rise again. And James and 
John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that 
thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto 
them, "What would ye that I should do for you 1 They said unto him, 
Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on 
thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them. Ye know not what 
ye ask : can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the 
baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him. We can. And 
Jesus said unto them. Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of ; 
and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized : But 
to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give ; but it 
shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, 
they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called 
them to him, and saith unto them. Ye know that they which are accounted 
to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them ; and their great ones 
exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you : but 
whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister : And whoso- 
ever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son 
of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his 
hfe a ransom for many. And they came to Jericho : and as he went out 
of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Barti- 



206 S. MARK. [chap. x. 32—52. 

mseus, the son of Timseus, sat by the highway side begging. And when 
he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, 
Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him 
that he should hold his peace : but he cried the more a great deal, Thou 
son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded 
him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him. Be of 
good comfort, rise ; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, 
rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him. What 
wilt thou that I should do unto thee ? The blind man said unto him. 
Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him. Go thy 
way ; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his 
sight, and followed Jesus in the way. 

Notwithstanding the clear declaration which our Lord made 
of his approaching sufferings and death, his disciples still ex- 
pected that he would establish a temporal kingdom. Though 
he had spoken of his being crucified, yet as he had talked also 
of his "rising again the third day," they conceived that he 
spoke only of some transient trials which would issue in a com- 
plete triumph over all his enemies. They remembered that pro- 
mise which he had very recently given them, that they should 
at a future period " sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel," * and they concluded that it must relate to 
some temporal dominion. Emboldened by this, we find that 
James and John presumed to ask that they might be invested 
with the two highest places of dignity and power in his kingdom. t 
Alas ! how artfully did Satan blind their eyes and delude their 
hearts — how stange that they should desire such things, when 
our Lord had but just told them that it was " easier for a camel 
to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter 
into the kingdom of heaven ! " He tells them that the places 
they sought for, must be disposed of according to the sovereign 
will of God, but that advancement in his spiritual kingdom 
was to be obtained by the discipline of conflicts and afflictions. 
It is not by mere request that any person can arrive at eminence 
in the divine life. Perfect as the Lord Jesus was, " he learned 
obedience by the things which he suffered,"'! and " was made per- 
fect through sufferings ; " and so in like manner must all his peo- 
ple : hence he put the question to them, " Can ye drink of the 
cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am 

* Matt. xix. 28. 
t The Talmudical writers say that in the Sanhedrin, the Nasi, or President, 
had two officers of distinction — one on either side. He who sat on the right 
Avas called Ah Beth Din, or father of the justiciary ; and he who sat on the left, 
was called, Cliachain, or the sage. Doddridge thinks it prol)able that the sons of 
Zebedee had this in view. t Heb. v. 8. 



CHAP. X. 32—52.] S. MARK. 207 

baptized with ? " In answer to this, the two disciples, without 
hesitation, affirmed that they could suffer any extremity for him. 
But what presumption was this ! and how unjustly they esti- 
mated their own powers, was soon manifest, when, upon our 
Lord's apprehension in the garden, they "all forsook him and 
fled." Thus will it be with us if we attempt to do any thing in 
our own strength, we shall soon find that we have not of our- 
selves a suflSciency even to think a good thought, much less to 
do or suffer any thing. 

The corruption of the heart, like fire in the flint, generally 
lies concealed, till by a colhsion with some particular circum- 
stance it is elicited ; and then it comes forth with a power 
capable of producing the most fatal effects. Till James and John 
made this request of our Lord for preferment in his kingdom, the 
other ten disciples appeared content with any lot that might be 
assigned them ; but when they had reason to apprehend that 
their more aspiring brethren might be placed above them, they 
were filled with indignation against them, and were ready to 
dispute and quarrel with them for precedency. Then they 
showed that they themselves were as much actuated by ambition 
as the others, and were quite as averse to yield as the others 
were anxious to obtain, the highest place of dignity and power. 
Let not any one think well of himself, or imagine that the evil 
spark does not exist in his breast ; particular circumstances may 
have kept him out of temptation's way, but the seeds of passion, 
lust, revenge, and the like, lie deeply seated within, liable to 
break out on some sudden temptation, except the grace of God 
keeps the heart, and takes from sin its fatal influence. The 
ambition of which the disciples were guilty, is a sin common to 
human nature. Many would not, perhaps, utter the sentiments 
so plainly as they did, but they indulge the desire ; they long 
for some advancement in life — somewhat more of honour, or 
power, or wealth ; as soon as any elevation in the world appears 
to be within their reach, they immediately find a drawing of 
heart towards it : all, from the prince to the beggar, are in- 
fluenced by the love of the world, until the grace of God 
teaches them to set their affections on things above, and not on 
the earth.* 

This chapter closes with an account of our Lord's miraculously 
curing a blind man. — " He sat by the highway begging," and 
there he heard that Jesus passed by. But hearing of Christ was 

* Col. iii. 2. 



208 S. MARK. ["Iap. x. 82—52. 

not enough for him, he longed to see him, and would not lose 
the present opportunity of trying to gain his object ; and it 
was well he did not, for we do not find that Jesus ever 
came to Jericho again. It is good to improve the present op- 
portunity ; none so favourable may ever occur. This poor 
man's petition is a model of prayer for us ; first, his impor- 
tunity ; he cried as one in earnest : cold petitions always bring 
denials. Secondly, his humility — " have mercy on me " — not 
specifying the favour, much less pleading merit : he asks not for 
silver and gold, though he was poor, but for mercy. Thirdly, his 
faith — evidenced by the title he gave to Christ — '* Jesus, thou 
son of David." It is of much use in prayer to keep in mind 
the Saviour's character, that as David's son he became man, and 
in this state can feel for our infirmities and compassionate our 
wants. And fourthly— his perseverance in prayer, notwithstand- 
ing discouragement. " Many charged him that he should hold 
his peace." — They rebuked hini as noisy and clamorous. So 
may we expect to meet with hindrances, and manifold discourage- 
ments, from within, and from without — something or other 
continually telling us to hold our peace ; but let us copy the 
perseverance of this poor blind man ; the more they rebuked 
him, the more earnestly he prayed, nor did he pray in vain, for 
Jesus will soon succour those who are under the frown, and re- 
buke, and contempt of men. " He stood still, and commanded 
him to be called." Happy moment for the poor sufferer — he is 
asked what he wishes, he begs for his eye-sight, and it is im- 
mediately restored. We would say to each of you who read 
this narrative — " Rise, the Saviour calleth you." He even says, 
" What wilt thou that I should do unto thee ? " May the Lord 
give you the inclination to choose the " good part, which shall 
not be taken from you," and may each of you be enabled to say 
of Jesus, " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but 
now mine eye seeth thee." * 



CHAP. XL 1—10. 



CHRIST S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. 

And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at 
the mount of OUves, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto 
them, Go your way into the village over against you : and as soon as ye be 

* Job xlii. 5. 



CHAP. XI. 1—10.] S. MARK. 209 

entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat ; loose 
him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you. Why do ye this ? say 
ye that tlie Lord hath need of him ; and straightway he will send him 
hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door 
without in a place where two ways met ; and they loose him. And certain 
of them that stood there said unto them, "Wliat do ye, loosing the colt ? 
And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded : and they let 
them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on 
him ; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way : 
and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna ; 
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord : Blessed be the kingdom 
of our father Da\id, that cometh in the name of the Lord : Hosanna in 
the highest. 

The close of our Redeemer's life draws near : we here read of 
his last visit to Jerusalem. He is now presented to us as 
hastening on to the hour of great sorrow. As the Lamb of 
God — the great appointed propitiation, he comes to present 
himself at the place of sacrifice. This is an example of divine 
love ; men are not wont to deliver themselves up to death for 
their enemies. It is thus, O Saviour, that thou introducest 
into the world a new philosophy — which consists in the follow- 
ing of the cross — the contempt of life, and the desire of death. 
Lord, let this spirit fill the hearts of thy people and thus make 
them ready to give themselves to thee and for thee.* This 
entry into Jerusalem is called his triumphal one, but how far 
from human grandeur was this exhibition ! it was accompanied 
with every external mark of meanness, as if to stamp vanity on 
the pompous retinue of mortal kings and conquerors. The 
Creator of the world enters Jerusalem seated upon an ass's colt 
— the multitude formed his train of attendants — their clothes, 
the trappings of the animal which carried him. Yet was he the 
Saviour of the world also, and therefore his mean externals 
agreed well with the glory of his grace — yea, even some symp- 
toms of the Godhead appeared. He showed his foreknowledge 
and omniscience by the circumstantial detail of all that should 
occur when the disciples were sent before him — he showed his 
omnipotence in making an animal tame and tractable which 
never before was subject to restraint. Let us picture this scene 
to our mind's eye : the Son of God the King of Israel, thus 
proceeding towards Jerusalem, and the people shouting with 
acclamation, " Hosannah ! f blessed is he that cometh in the name 

* See Quesnel on this text, 
t " Hosannah," is a Hebrew word, rendered in Psalm cxviii. 25, " save no.w " ; 
a form of ascribing salvation to the Lord. If the ascription of praise to King 
VOL. I. P 



210 S.MARK. [chap. XI. 11— .'ja. 

of the Lord." Let us, in the spirit, go forth with them, and 
join in the subhme though simple song. Let us welcome him 
into our hearts ! Let us echo it back ! " Blessed is he that 
cometh in the name of the Lord." But alas ! these transports 
were only raised by the hopes of a temporal kingdom, and when 
these hopes were disappointed, those effusions of joy were turned 
into rage. Would that there were hone who follow Christ now 
from the same motive ; but it is too plain that many who are 
under the engagements of a Christian, nay, of a ministerial 
profession, proclaim Christ with great appearance of zeal, and 
yet their chief object is, to exalt themselves. The Lord indeed 
gave them, by this entry into Jerusalem, a faint idea of that 
glorious triumph which shall attend his second coming — " when 
he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne ; 
and he shall be a priest upon his throne." * 

How glorious shall the Son of God then appear. No longer 
the man of sorrows — exposed to the malice of Satan and the 
wrath of man for our sakes — and seldom hearing the glad 
Hosannah addressed to him. He shall then take possession of 
his own throne — the reward of his sufferings. Thousands and 
tens of thousands of the angelic hosts and glorified saints shall 
grace his triumph ; the joyful Alleluia, shall fill heaven and 
earth. The multitude which no man can number shall never 
grow weary in ascribing hosannah to the Son of David. 



CHAP. XL 11—33. 



CURSES THE BARREN FIG-TREE PURGETH THE TEMPLE EXHORTETH TO 

PRAYER AND FAITH MAINTAINS HIS AUTHORITY BY REFERENCE TO JOHN. 

And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple : and when he had 
looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he 
went out unto Bethany with the twelve. And on the morrow, when they 
were come from Bethany, he was hungry ; And seeing a fig-tree afar off 
having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon : and 
when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves ; for the time of figs was 
not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it. No man eat fruit of thee 
hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jeru- 
salem : and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that 
sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money- 
changers, and the seats of them that sold doves ; And would not suffer 
that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, 

Messiah by this multitude was striking, what shall it be when uttered by the 
voices of the multitude that no man can number 1 Rev. vii. 19. 
* Zech. vi. 13. 



CHAP. XI. n— as.] S.MARK. 211 

saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations 
the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the 
scribes and chief priests heard it, and soiight how they might destroy him : 
for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 
And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, 
as they passed by, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. And 
Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him. Master, behold, the fig-tree 
which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto 
them. Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever 
shall say unto this mountain. Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the 
sea ; and shall not doubt in liis heart, but shall believe that those things 
which he saith shall come to pass ; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 
Therefore 1 say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, 
believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand 
praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any : that your Father also which 
is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, 
neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. And 
they come again to Jerusalem : and as he was walking in the temple, there 
come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders. And say 
unto him, By what authority doest thou these things ? and who gave thee 
this authority to do these things ? And Jesus answered and said unto 
them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I vdll tell you 
by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from 
heaven, or of men ? answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, 
saying, If we shall say, From heaven ; he vdll say. Why then did ye not 
believe him ? But if we shall say. Of men ; they feared the people : for 
all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered 
and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto 
them. Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things. 

On entering the city, our Lord's first object was to visit the 
temple, and having witnessed the sad abuse of that sacred 
place which prevailed, he took occasion on his next visit, to exer- 
cise that authority which he had over his own house, and to re- 
move the buyers and sellers, who, for the sake of the rent which 
they doubtless paid, were allowed by the priests to establish a 
market for cattle and birds, within the courts of the Lord's 
house, as if to be ready at hand for sacrifice. What a creature 
is man ! how easily is his conscience over-persuaded, when his 
interest is concerned ! 

During this last visit of our Lord to Jerusalem, it was his habit 
to spend the day in the city, and to retire in the evening to the 
neighbouring town of Bethany, where he lodged with the pious 
family of Lazarus. On one occasion, as he went into Jerusalem, 
he sought fruit on a fig-tree which grew by the road-side, and 
finding none, he cursed it for its barrenness. A difficulty seems 
to exist here : why should our Lord expect fruit on this tree, 
when it is said — " the time of figs was not yet ;" but these latter 
words do not assign the reason why our Lord found no figs on 

p 2 



212 S.MARK. [ciiAi'. XI. Jl— ;3;5. 

this tree ; it was rather the reason why he went to this one tree, 
which from its having leaves at that season, proved it to be of a 
particular species, whose old fruit remained till the new ap- 
peared. The time of ripe figs, on the ordinary fig-trees, was 
not come ; but fruit might have been expected on this 
tree, because its leaves showed it to be of the other species.* 
Thus it was an apt emblem of the Jewish nation, which our Lord 
was just about to curse : their profession of true religion gave an 
expectation of fruit, though none could have been looked for 
among the Gentiles ; but as this expectation was not answered, 
the nation was rejected, and has ever since continued unfruitful, 

Alas ! how many professing Christians are barren fig-trees ; 
raising, and disappointing the expectation of those who seek 
fruit from them. The leaves of profession may impose upon 
man, but the Lord will speedily come to seek for fruit. Genuine 
religion makes men fruitful in good works, and religion with- 
out holiness of life, is but an empty name. What need have we 
to pray that God would " graft in our hearts the love of his 
name," and what encouragement does our Lord afibrd us in his 
reply to Peter — " what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, 
believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them ! " 

Want of faith is a far more dangerous sin than many imagine. 
God has promised us great things in his holy word. To doubt 
the fulfilment of what he has promised, is unbelief — to expect 
the accomplishment of his word, and to act upon it, is faith, and 
without faith, no prayer, even for the smallest blessing, can 
succeed. Unbelief would make us imagine that God's promises 
are too good to be true ; but is it not an insult to disbelieve 
him ? " Hath he said, and shall he not do it — hath he spoken, 
and shall he not bring it to pass ? " Away with unbelief, and 
let us reflect that, with faith, no prayer, even for the greatest 
blessings, can fail. Faith honours every perfection of the Deity, 
and in this view, can "remove mountains" — a phrase amongst the 
Jews for overcoming the greatest difficulties — we have mountains 
of sin and difficulties before us — but faith, looking to the power 
of Jesus, can cast them down and enable us to walk in the high 
way of holiness. God does not bind himself to any particular 
time or manner of answering the prayer of faith ; he may see fit 
to defer his answer, but he will not delay it beyond the best time. 
He may also withhold the particular blessing that is asked, but 
he will give a better in its stead. 

* " It was not yet the time of figs," being only the eleventh of Nisan, i. e. 
March or April. Dr. Shaw says that the boccores, or early fig precedes the leaf, 
and often yields a few ripe figs before the rest. — See his Travels. 



ciiAF. XII. 1-17.] S. MARK. 21.*] 

As our Lord now openly appeared in the character of the 
Messiah, the chief priests, and other leading persons of the 
nation, were exceedingly offended at his teaching and working 
miracles in the temple. They thought that nothing should be 
done without their authority, and questioned our Lord as to the 
power he assumed. His answer is a model of " the meekness of 
wisdom." He proposed a question respecting the power with 
which John the Baptist was invested, and as they could not but 
allow that he was " sent of God," he only claimed the same ad- 
mission for himself, as sufficient to justify his conduct. But as 
the true answer to this question would involve them in difficulty, 
they declined an answer altogether. What a strange world is 
this ! men are allowed to commit all manner of sin and iniquity, 
and no one chides them, or says — " By what authority doest thou 
these things?" but as soon as a person becomes alive to religion, 
and is active in the cause of the Lord, he is spoken of as an en- 
thusiast, and attempts are made to restrain him. But if he acts 
upon the authority of the word of God, he may be confident 
that his opposers shall be silenced in the end. 



CHAP. XH. 1-17. 

CHRIST FORETELLETH THE REJECTION OF THE JEWS AND CALLING OF THE 
GENTILES ON PAYING TRIBUTE TO C^SAR. 

And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a 
vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, 
and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far coun- 
try. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he 
might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And 
they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he 
sent unto them another servant ; and at him they cast stones, and wounded 
him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he 
sent another ; and him they killed, and many others ; beating some, and 
killing some. Having yet therefore one sou, his wellbeloved, he sent 
him also last unto them, saying. They will reverence my son. But those 
husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir ; come, let us kill 
him, and the inheritance shall be our's. And they took him, and killed 
him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of 
the vineyard do .'' he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give 
the vineyard unto others. And have ye not read this scripture ; The stone 
which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner : This was 
the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes ? And they sought to 
lay hold on him, but feared the people : for they knew that he had spokeii 
the parable against them : and they left him, and went their way. And 
they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch 
him in ^/.swords. And when they were come, they say unto him. Master, 



214 S. MARK. [chap. xii. 1—17. 

we know that thou art true, and carest for no man : for thou regardest 
not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth : Is it lawful 
to give tribute to Csesar, or not ? Shall we give, or shall we not give ? 
But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them. Why tempt ye me ? 
bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith 
unto them. Whose is this image and superscription 1 And they said unto 
him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them. Render to Caesar 
the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And 
they marvelled at him. 

There are many passages of Scripture wherein God speaks of 
himself as frustrated and disappointed by the conduct of his 
creatures. We are not, however, to suppose that any event 
happens contrary to his expectation, but the truth is, God speaks 
after the manner of men, for the sake of accommodating himself 
to our low and feeble apprehensions. Bearing these remarks in 
mind, we shall better understand the parable which our Lord 
spoke to the Jewish priests and rulers, to expose their sin and 
danger in rejecting him — the Son of God. The Lord had con- 
ferred on the Jews the exclusive privileges of the visible church, 
compared in the parable to the vineyard, which his bounty had 
furnished with fruitful plants, and which he committed to them 
to dress and cultivate. From time to time he sent messengers 
to them to obtain some return for the blessings he had conferred 
in making them the depositaries of his truth ; but some of them 
they had beaten, and others they had killed ; having therefore 
one Son, his well-beloved, he determined to send him, " saying, 
they will reverence my Son." But in the conclusion of the 
parable our Lord represents them as treating him worse than 
any, and, so to speak, disappointing the expectations of his 
Father, who sent him.* If God expected the Jews to reverence 
his Son, even when accompanied with all the outward marks of 
humihty, how much more reverence will be expected from us, 
who acknowledge him to be the Son of God ! How strong are 
the reasons why we should reverence the Lord Jesus ! If God 
had sent an angel, or only a man like ourselves, we ought t© 
reverence him, because the authority of the King is to be 
acknowledged in his ambassador. But when he sends his co- 
equal, co-eternal Son, who is Jehovah's fellow, ought we not to 
testify all possible respect for him ? But how should our reve- 
rence be heightened, when we consider our extreme need of 
such a Saviour ! Surely God may well expect that we should 
be solicitous to escape the wrath to come, when he has exhibited 

* Luke xiii. 34. 



CHAP. XII. 1—17.] S. MARK. 215 

his anger against sin in the sorrows and agonies of his well- 
beloved Son — our surety and substitute. But if we, like the 
Jews, reject this great stone of the corner, we must fall under 
the wrath of a holy God, who will take special vengeance on 
those who despise the love and grace of such a Saviour. 

The parable of the vineyard ought to be particularly interest- 
ing to us Gentiles, whilst it conveys the most solemn threats of 
judgments to the Jews. The Lord sums up the whole of the 
parable, by asking the question, " What shall therefore the 
lord of the vineyard do ? " The reply is, (which St. Matthew 
says, the Jews themselves gave *) " He will come and de- 
stroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others." 
Now the Lord's declarations have been fulfilled in the casting 
out of Israel for an appointed time, and the vineyard or visible 
church has been committed to the Gentiles. What a mercy is 
it to have the means of grace, — the ordinances of our gracious 
God ; surely if we are slothful or unfruitful, we must expect 
that all these precious benefits will be utterly taken from us. 

After the many defeats which the leaders of the Jewish sects 
had experienced from our Lord, it is strange that they should 
again enter upon an argument with him. But the mere possi- 
bility of success, leads many to some desperate effort. So it 
proved here, for three different parties, Pharisees, Herodians, 
and Sadducees, undertake to argue with him, in hopes of 
catching him in his words — a fruitless effort as it proved. 
The two former proposed a question respecting the divine right 
of paying tribute to an earthly monarch : they asked whether it 
was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, the Roman emperor, or not. 
The dilemma in which they wished to place our Lord, was this, 
if he said no — the Herodians (who were a mere political sect,) 
might represent him as an enemy to Caesar. If he answered that 
it was lawful — the Pharisees might represent him to the people 
as no friend to their nation ; because, by recommending the pay- 
ment of tribute, he would seem to perpetuate their subjection 
to the Romans. But our Lord having obliged them to confess 
that the coin which they allowed to pass current, bore the image 
and superscription of Caesar, this implied that Caesar was their 
supreme governor, and as such was entitled to tribute, for the 
necessary expenses of the government. At the same time he 
reminded them, that the first tribute of their affections was due 
to God, their moral governor. His answer, therefore, ought to 

* Matt. xxi. 41. 



216 S. MARK. LcuAP. xii. 18—44. 

be oiir rule ; let us give to God the first and best offering, and 
we shall then know how to love and obey the creature in the 
right position. Caesar's coin is gold and silver, but God's coin 
is man, in whom his image is engraven. Render to Caesar 
your riches, but to God a pure conscience.* 



CHAP. XII. 18-44. 

THE SADDUCEe's CAVIL ABOUT THE RESURRECTION SILENCED THE WIDOW's 

MITE COMMENDED. 

Then come unto hira the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection ; and 
they asked him, saying. Master, Moses wrote unto us. If a man's brother 
die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother 
should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were 
seven brethren : and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And 
the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed : and the third 
likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed : last of all the woman 
died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife 
shall she be of them ? for the seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering 
said unto them. Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scrip- 
tures, neither the power of God ? For when they shall rise from the dead, 
they neither marry, nor are given in marriage ; but are as the angels which 
are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise : have ye not 
read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, 
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob 1 
He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living : ye therefore 
do greatly err. And one of the scribes came, and having heard them rea- 
soning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked 
him. Which is the first commandment of. all 1 And Jesus answered him. 
The first of all the commandments is. Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God 
is one Lord : And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : 
this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this. Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment 
greater than these. And the scribe said unto him. Well, Master, thou 
hast said the truth : for there is one God ; and there is none other but he : 
And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and 
with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as 
himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when 
Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far 
from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any 
question. And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, 
How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David ? For David himself 
said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right 
hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself 
calleth him Lord ; and whence is he then his son ? And the common 
people heard him gladly. And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware 

■'• Hilary on Matthew. 



CUAP. XII. 18— 4i.] S. MARK. 217 

of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in 
the market-places. And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the upper- 
most rooms at feasts : Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence 
make long prayers : these shall receive greater damnation. iVnd Jesus sat 
over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the 
treasury : and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a cer- 
tain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them. Verily I say 
unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which 
have cast into the treasury : For all they did cast in of their abundance ; 
but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. 

The question proposed by the Sadducees was suited to their 
peculiar views. They were a sect of the Jews, and derived 
their name either from the word Sedek, which means justice, 
because they justified themselves before God and men, or from 
Sadoc, the founder of their sect. They were full of infidel no- 
tions, denying a large portion of the Bible, the existence of 
spirits, and the prospect of the resurrection ; * hence their ques- 
tion regarded a future resurrection, and they adduced a case, 
either real, or fictitious, of a woman who had seven husbands, 
and then required our Lord to state which of the seven should 
claim her in the time of the resurrection. The answer was 
simple — our Lord replied that marriage was intended only for 
this world — that in the future state, as there should be no death, 
neither should there be any marriage — that the enjoyment of the 
future state should be purely spiritual, and that their error on 
this point arose from their ignorance of the Scriptures. This is 
the cause of that lamentable ignorance about divine things, 
which is found even in our day of hght and privileges ; if per- 
sons would read the word of God, with prayer for divine instruc- 
tion, we should hear less of those unscriptural ideas and doctrines, 
which so many frame for themselves, or take upon the authority 
of their neighbours. 

Having answered the question which the Sadducees proposed, 
our Lord took occasion to prove the doctrine which they re- 
jected, out of that portion of the Scriptures which they received, 
viz. the five books of Moses. When God appeared to Moses, 
he spoke of himself as " the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of 
Jacob." t Now this was spoken two hundred years after the 
youngest of them w^as dead, and yet God spoke of his relation 
to them as still existing. " I am the God," &c. But " God is 
not the God of the dead, but of the living ; " the very title, 

* Acts xxiii. r>, t Exod. iii. H. 



218 S. MARK. [chap. xii. 18—44. 

therefore, which God assumed, impUed that these persons were 
yet in existence. Nor did it less forcibly imply that their 
bodies also should be restored to life : for they, as men, consisted 
both of body and soul ; and God was as much the God of their 
bodies, as of their souls ; if their bodies should never rise again, 
that relation had ceased with respect to their bodies, and so they 
must seem to allow that God was wrong in what he had said to 
Moses : thus, in their anxiety to entrap our Lord, they involved 
themselves in a blasphemous conclusion. 

After the fruitless efforts of the Pharisees and Sadducees, it 
was a bold adventure of a certain Scribe to engage with our 
Lord on the field of disputation. Though less captious than 
those who preceded, he was under the influence of an improper 
spirit ; but our Lord's answer to his question, regarding the 
chief commandment (a point much in dispute among the Jewish 
doctors,) was so satisfactory, that he was led to agree with him, 
more than, perhaps, he at first intended. The love of God was 
stated to be the first commandment, and next to it, the love of 
our neighbour ; and the subsequent remarks of this Scribe upon 
the superior excellence of these moral precepts above any cere- 
monial observance, induced our Lord to say, " Thou art not far 
from the kingdom of God." A happy state, where it belongs to 
the humble enquirer who is seeking acquaintance with God ; but 
a very delusive state, where men are satisfied with going to a 
certain extent in religion, but fear giving themselves heartily to 
God. If the love of God be the first and great commandment, 
and if that love requires undivided allegiance, how shall we bear 
to be examined on this point ? Can we say that God has the 
whole of our hearts ? Is the utmost vigour of our faculties ex- 
erted in his service ? Do we make him the end of all our 
actions, of all our wishes, of all our pursuits ? 

Our Lord's observation upon the widow's gift teaches us to 
estimate charity, not so much by its actual amount, as by the 
proportion'which it bears to our means. She gave " two mites," 
which was all she possessed,* consequently she left herself with- 
out any thing, and if our Lord had not commended her act, 
there are numbers who would have blamed it as unnecessary 
and presumptuous. If our motives be pure, we need not fear an 
excess on this point. Let us recollect that the Lord Jesus still 
has his eye on the treasury, to observe in what degree, and from 

* Skov rhv piou — "all her life" — a strong expression — life is put for food; and 
when she coukl give up her food and expose herself to want, her charity must 
Jiave been of the highest qiiality ! 



CHAP. XIII.] S. MARK. 210 

what motive, we are ready to contribute ; and we cannot but 
long for the time when all shall feel themselves but stewards of 
the trust reposed in them, and when we shall cease to complain 
that the Lord's work is retarded by the abuse of his own property, 
in gratifying the taste, indulging the vanity, and ornamenting 
the persons of those to whom he has lent it for a far different 
purpose. 



CHAP. XIII. 



THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM TYPICAL OF CHRIST S SECOND COMING. 

And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him. Master, 
see what manner of stones and what buildings are here ! And Jesus ans- 
wering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings 1 there shall not be 
left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he 
sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James 
and John and Andrew asked him privately. Tell us, when shall these 
things be ? and what shall he the sign when all these things shall be fulfil- 
led ? And Jesus answering them began to say. Take heed lest any man 
deceive you : For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ ; and 
shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, 
be ye not troubled : for such things must needs be ; but the end shall not 
be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against king- 
dom : and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be 
famines and troubles : these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed 
to yourselves : for they shall deliver you up to councils ; and in the syna- 
gogues ye shall be beaten : and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings 
for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be 
published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver 
you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye 
premeditate : but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak 
ye : for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother 
shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son ; and children 
shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake : but he that shall 
endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. But when ye shall see the 
abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing 
where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that 
be in Judaea flee to the mountains : And let him that is on the housetop 
not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of 
his house : And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take 
up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that 
give suck in those days ! And pray ye that your flight be not in the vpinter. 
For in those days shall be afiliction, such as was not from the beginning 
of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And 
except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved : 
but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the 
days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ ; or, lo, 
he is there ; believe him not : For false Christs and false prophets shall 



220 S. MARK. [chap. xiii. ? 

rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even 
the elect. But take ye heed : behold, I have foretold you all things. But 
in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the 
moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the 
powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the 
Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. • And then 
shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four 
winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of 
heaven. Now learn a parable of the fig-tree ; Wlien her branch is yet 
tender, and putteth forth leaves; ye know that summer is near : So ye in 
like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is 
nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall 
not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away : 
but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth 
no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the 
Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray : for ye know not when the time 
is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his 
house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and 
commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore : for ye know not 
when the master of the house cometh ; at even, or at midnight, or at the 
cockcrowing, or in the morning : Lest coming suddenly he find you sleep- 
ing. And what I say unto you I say unto all. Watch. 

On different occasions, but especially at the close of his life, our 
Lord taught his disciples to look forward to a future period, 
when he should assuredly come again. He specified two objects 
for which he should come ; the one was, to destroy Jerusalem, 
and the other — to judge the world : and inasmuch as the former 
of these advents was typical of the other, he blended the narra- 
tive of both together. The language of the latter part of this 
chapter carries us forward to the events of the " day of the 
Lord " — when he shall come to his people's joy, but for the de- 
struction of his enemies.* 

With respect to the first of these events, he foretells the awful 
calamities which were soon to overtake the city of Jerusalem, as 
a just judgment upon the Jews for their rejection of him — the 
Messiah. Our Lord was now ready to depart from the temple, 
never more to enter it. His disciples called his attention to the 
stateliness and grandeur of the building, little considering how 
sin would undermine its foundations, and lay its honours in the 
dust. Sin brings cities and kingdoms, as well as particular per- 
sons, to destruction. Our Lord then states, what must have ex- 
cited their astonishment, that, grand and magnificent as that 
temple was, not a stone should be left upon another, before the 
end of that present generation. And although from its pro- 
digious strength this seemed almost impossible, yet were our 

* See verse 32, to tJie end. 



cuAP. XIII.] S. MARK. 221 

Lord's words exactly accomplished. Titus, the Roman Em- 
peror, laid sieg^e to the city, which, after a long and desperate 
resistance, yielded ; but not before the inhabitants were dis- 
tracted by internal discord, and thousands had perished in the 
agonies of actual starvation. The privations which the Roman 
soldiers suffered during the siege, so exasperated them, that the 
commands of their general could not restrain their fury when 
once they had gained an entrance to the city ; and notwithstand- 
ing his positive injunctions to the contrary, this magnificent tem- 
ple fell a prey to their rage, and was burned to the ground ; and 
as if to shew how minutely every word of Christ must be fulfil- 
led, the plough was made to pass over the foundations on which 
this noble pile once stood. 

What a fearful thing must it be to reject the Lord Jesus, if, 
for this crim.e, the Jews were visited with such fearful calamities ! 
Oh it should make us tremble for ourselves, lest while we con- 
fessedly receive him, we may virtually reject him, and in works 
deny him. We may perhaps think that what we read in this 
chapter, is merely a narrative of events long since past, and in 
which we are no ways interested. But be assured this is not 
the case. The destruction of Jerusalem was evidently intended 
to be a type or representation of that still more awful event 
which is yet to take place, " when the Lord Jesus shall be re- 
vealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 
taking vengeance on them that know him not." * And in the 
prospect of this, we have much need to observe the admonition, 
contained in the latter verses of the chapter. 

Our Lord in illustrating the momentous prospect of his second 
coming to judge the world, compares himself to a master, leav- 
ing his house, and appointing his servants their work, and com- 
manding his porter to watch, in order to admit him without de- 
lay, at whatever moment he should arrive. He represents the 
precise time of his return as unknown to men, or angels, or even 
to himself, (so far at least, that the Holy Spirit, by which he 
was anointed to his prophetic office, had not communicated it to 
him as any part of the Revelation which he was to make known 
to men,) and from thence inculcates the necessity of incessant 
watchfulness. But though we cannot be certain either of the 
day or hour of the Saviour's second advent, yet are w^e com- 
manded to watch for it as an event that may come to any age 
of the Church. Certain signs are given to quicken attention, 

* 2 Thess. i. 7, 8. 



222 - S. MARK. [chap. xiv. 1—81. 

and when they take place, the Church will then know that the 
" summer is near " — the glory of the blessed kingdom ; but 
even before these signs are fully manifest, all believers should 
individually wait for the coming of the great King — because he 
has enjoined it on us, and because it may arrive in our day and 
generation. Many Christians expect the gradual conversion of 
the world, and the fulfilment of a long chain of prophecies to 
take place before the advent of Christ, and hence they are 
looking for other things, instead of the Saviour's arrival to his 
household. This is a sad mistake ; it not only removes this 
glorious day to the distant horizon, but it prevents its having 
the practical tendency that Jesus inculcated on us all. Watch- 
fulness is our duty and privilege, because the Lord may return 
whilst we are alive and actively engaged in the affairs of this life. 
Let us listen to his charge — thrice, in the space of a few verses, 
does our Lord repeat the same injunction — " watch." May we 
have grace to put us in a state of watchfulness — may the careless 
be timely warned — may the half-awakened be aroused to increased 
exertion — and may the sincere Christian have his loins contin- 
ually girt, and his lamp trimmed, and he himself like unto one 
who waits for the coming of his Lord. 

Note v. 32. — Christ as God did not reveal to his manhood, whilst on earth, 
the precise time of his second coming. Though there is no doubt that now- 
being glorified in heaven, he doth know it even as he is man.— See Fetter on 
this verse. 



CHAP. XIV. 1-3L 

JESUS AT BETHANY ANOINTED BY MARY JUDAS SELLETH HIS MASTER FOR 

MONEY THE LORD's SUPPER INSTITUTED CHRIST FORETELLS PETEr's 

DENIAL. 

After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread ; and 
the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, 
and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be 
an uproar of the people. And being in Bethany in the house of Simon 
the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box 
of ointment of spikenard very precious ; and she brake the box, and poured 
it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within them- 
selves, and said. Why Avas this waste of the ointment made ? For it might 
have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to 
the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said. Let her 
alone ; why trouble ye her ? she hath wrought a good work on me. For 
ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them 
good : but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could : she is 
come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you. 



CHAP. XIV. 1—31.] S. MARK. " 22.1 

Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, 
this also that she hath done shall he spokeu of for a memorial of her. 
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went luito the ■ chief priests, to 
betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and 
promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently 
betray him. And the first day of vmleavened bread, when they killed the 
passover, his disciples said unto him. Where wilt thou that we go and pre- 
pare that thou mayest eat the passover 1 And he sendeth forth two of his 
disciples, and saith unto them. Go ye into the city, and there shall meet 
you a man bearing a pitcher of water : follow him. And wheresoever he 
shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house. The Master saith. Where 
is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples ? 
And he will shew you a large upper room furnished mid prepared : there 
make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, 
and found as he had said unto them : and they made ready the passover. 
And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did 
eat, Jesus said. Verily I say uuto you, One of you which eateth with me 
shall betray me, And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one 
by one. Is \t I ? and another said. Is \tl1 And he answered and said 
uuto them. It is one of the twelve, that dippeth wath me in the dish. The 
Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him : but woe to that man 
by whom the Son of man is betrayed ! good were it for that man if he had 
never been born. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and 
brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat : this is my body. And 
he took the cup, and when he had given thanksj he gave it to them ; and 
they all drank of it. And he said uuto them, This is my blood of the new 
testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink 
no more of the fruit of the \-ine, until that day that I drink it new in the 
kingdom of God. And when they had smig an hymn, they went out into 
the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith uuto them, All ye shall be offended 
because of me this night : for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and 
the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before 
you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him. Although all shall be offended, 
yet tvill not I. And Jesus saith unto him. Verily I say unto thee, That 
this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me 
thrice. But he spake the more vehemently. If I should die with thee, I 
will not deny thee in anywise. Likewise also said they all. 

By our Lord's departure from the temple, as recorded in the 
preceding chapter, he seems to have closed his pubhc ministry. 
The rest of his instructions were given in private to his own 
disciples, whom he now reminds that the feast of the Passover 
would be held within two days, and that at that time he should be 
betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and close his earthly 
mission. 

Our Lord was at this time entertained at Bethany, by " Simon 
the leper," who had probably been cleansed by him. If we 
compare this account with the same as recorded in the 12th 
chapter of St. John, we shall find that Lazarus was a guest at 
this supper — that Martha waited on them, and that Mary, the 



224 S.MARK. [chap. xiv. 1—81. 

sister of Lazarus was the woman who anointed our Lord with 
the ointment : the late extraordinary favour conferred on her, in 
the resurrection of her beloved brother, havinp: excited those fer- 
vent and grateful affections which influenced her conduct. She 
had a box of very precious ointment, which she thought could 
not be better disposed of, than in her Master's service ; though 
the ointment was costly,* still, at best, the gift was small, when 
compared with the debt of gratitude she owed ; yet it was all 
she had to give, and the Lord, who knew the motives from which 
it was done, accepted it, and vindicated her conduct against the 
censures of Judas, whose covetous disposition now betrayed itself. 
One part of this circumstance is remarkable. We do not ap- 
prehend that Mary herself had any idea of confirming our Lord's 
assertions, respecting his approaching death ; but by this act 
she unconsciously predicted the death of her beloved Lord. It 
was common among the Jews to embalm the bodies of their de- 
parted friends with odour, and sweet spices ; but there would 
be no time allowed for such tokens of respect from the friends 
of Jesus ; therefore our Lord construed this action of Mary's as 
a previous preparation for his funeral, and as a performance of a 
rite which could not otherwise have been effected. — " She hath 
done ivhat she couldJ" Can each of us say, ' I have done what 
I could for Jesus ? ' We have not him, personally, amongst us, 
but we have his poor to reheve — his gospel to pubhsh— and his 
word to circulate — so that if there be in us a feeling of love and 
gratitude, we shall find opportunities enough of testifying it. 

Satan always suits his temptation to the character of the per- 
son he has to deal with. Covetousness, we have already seen, 
was the besetting sin of Judas, and with the allurement which 
the chief priests held out, he is tempted to become a traitor. 
They set upon the head of Jesus the price of a slave, and they 
find an apostle base enough to accept it. The plan for the be- 
traying of our Lord had been formed before the last supper, but 
it was on this occasion, when they were all assembled, that he 
showed how conscious he was of all that would happen, while it 
gave proof that the offering of himself was perfectly voluntary. 

We cannot pass over the miraculous detail of future circum- 
stances which our Lord laid before his disciples, when sending 
them to prepare a place for the Passover. Nothing could be less 

* Hence nvpiaia is used — to anoint with aromatic ointments, such as were used 
for the bodies of great men. The ointment was worth about nine pounds of our 
money. Mary spent more in anointing Christ than Judas demanded for the 
betraval of his master. 



CHAP. XIV. 1—31.] S. MARK. 225 

the object of natural sagacity and foresight than the events he 
mentioned. Had the two disciples come to the place specified, 
rather sooner or later than they did, the "man bearing the pitcher 
of water" would either not have arrived, or would have been gone: 
but all was accurately accomplished as he had foretold. And now 
being assembled for the last time before his passion, our Lord in- 
stituted that solemn rite, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
which was to take the place of the Jewish Passover ; and as the 
latter was observed in prospect of the Messiah to come, so this 
Sacrament was instituted to keep up a continual remembrance 
of him who had come, whose body was broken, and whose 
blood was shed, of which the breaking of the bread, and the 
pouring out of the wine, were apt representations. All of us are 
invited, nay commanded, to celebrate this feast ; but let it not 
be imagined that we are welcome guests without a saving faith 
in the Lamb of God. It is spiritual food which is there to be 
received, and unless we are spiritual, that is, under the influence 
of the Holy Spirit, we shall receive no comfort at its celebration.* 
It is a melancholy reflection that there should be any one in the 
select company at which our Lord was present, to whom it was 
not a spiritual feast : especially one, who, having eaten of Christ's 
bread, should, in such a sense and degree as Judas, " hft up his 
heel against him." f May the Lord deliver us from a share in 
that guilt ! we are treated as his friends ; we are set at his 
table ; let us not ungratefully kick against him. 

How artfully must Judas have conducted himself, when, on 
such an intimation from our Lord of what was to happen, no par- 
ticular suspicion appears to have fallen on him ! But how vain 
is that artifice, be it ever so refined, which, while it preserves a 
character in the sight of men, cannot, in the least degree, impose 
upon Christ : the day will come when he will lay open the false 
and ungrateful hypocrite in a more overwhelming manner than 
that in which he here exposed Judas, and whatever advantage he 
may have gained, either by professing religion, or betraying it, 
he will undoubtedly find that " it had been good for him if he had 
never been born." 

Our Lord seeing that the trying hour was close at hand, pre- 
pares his disciples for what they must expect. He tells them that 
the shepherd being smitten, the sheep should be scattered, and 
strongly intimates his doubts of their fidelity in the hour of 

* Sacraments represent by similitude, signify by institution, but sanctify by 
virtue of Christ. Cited by Davenant. * 

t Psalm xli. 9. 
VOL. I. Q 



226 S. MARK. [chap. xiv. 32—72. 

trial. Peter, with his usual forwardness, answers at once, "though 
all shall be offended, yet will not I." Surely this is the language 
of many a Christian heart, when warned and animated by a sense 
of his dying love. But let none " be high-minded ; " for Peter, 
after this declaration, denied his Master, and the same night in 
which the other disciples protested they would never leave him, 
they *' all forsook him and fled." Nor, on the other hand, let 
the view of that frailty discourage us, though it ought to caution 
us ; for the time came when each of them behaved as they had 
first promised ; and they who in his very presence acted so weak 
a part, afterwards, through the influence of his strengthening 
Spirit, '' resisted unto blood," and " loved not their lives unto 
the death," for the testimony of Jesus. 

Note v. 22. — Gresswell remarks that the article is here omitted. " Jesus took 
bread " (dprou not rhv Sprov), perhaps because it was a loaf and therefore 
leavened, not in flat cakes as unleavened bread was always made. — Dissertations 
on Harmony, vol. iii. p. 107. 



CHAP. XIV. 32—72. 

JESUS IN GETHSEMANE JUDAS BETRAYS HIM THE FALL OF PETER. 

And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane ; and he saith to his 
disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter 
and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy ; 
And saith unto them. My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death : tarry ye 
here, and watch. And he went forward a little and fell on the ground, 
and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And 
he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee ; take away this 
cup from me : nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he 
Cometh and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest 
thou ? couldest not thou watch one hour ? Watch ye and pray, lest ye 
enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 
And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And 
when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) 
neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, 
and saith unto them. Sleep on now, and take your rest ; it is enough, the 
hour is come : behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sin- 
ners. Rise up, let us go : lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. And 
immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with 
him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and 
the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a 
token, saying. Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he ; take him, and 
lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway 
to him, and saith, Master, master ; and kissed him. And they laid their hands 
pn him, and took him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and 
smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered 



CHAP. XIV. 32—72.] S. MARK. , 227 

and said unto them, Are ye come out as against a tliief, with swords and ivith 
staves to take me ? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye 
took me not : but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook 
him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, ha^-ing a- linen 
cloth cast about his naked body ; and the young men laid hold on him : 
And he left the Hnen cloth, and fled from them naked. And they led Jesus 
away to the high priest ; and with him were assembled all the chief priests 
and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar ofl", even into 
the palace of the high priest : and he sat with the servants and warmed 
himself at the fire. And the chief priests and all the council sought for 
witness against Jesus to put him to death : and found none. For many 
bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And 
there arose certain, and bare false witness against liim, saying. We heard 
him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within 
three days I will build another made vdthout hands. But neither so did 
their witness agree together. And the high priest stood up in the midst, 
and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing ? what is it which these 
witness against thee 1 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again 
the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son 
of the Blessed ? And Jesus said, I am : and ye shall see the Son of man 
sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further 
witnesses 1 Ye have heard the blasphemy : what think ye 1 And they all 
condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to 
cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him. Prophesy ; and the 
servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. And as Peter was 
beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest : 
And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, 
And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know 
not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch ; 
and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them 
that stood by, this is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little 
after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them : 
for thou art a Gahlean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to 
curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And 
the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that 
Jesus said unto him. Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 
And when he thought thereon, he wept. 

On the slightest attention to the story of our Saviour's suffer- 
ings, we cannot but be struck with astonishment. What a sight 
is here in the garden of Gethsemane ! let our souls turn aside to 
behold it with a becoming temper ; and, surely, we must wonder 
how the disciples could sleep, in the midst of a scene, which 
might almost have awakened rocks to compassion. Behold 'the 
Prince of hfe ' — God's incarnate and only-begotten Son, — drink- 
ing of the bitter cup of suffering, which was necessary for the 
recovery of ruined man. Let us behold him kneehng, and after- 
wards prostrate on the ground, and there pouring out his "strong 
crying and tears unto Him who was able to save him from 
death." If Christ himself was so depressed with sorrow and 

Q 2 



228 , S. MARK. [chap. xiv. 32—72, 

amazement,* and if the distress and anguish he endured, were 
such, that in his agony, the blood was pressed through the pores 
of his skin, and fell upon the ground ; how shall the lost sinner 
be filled with horror, and with what dreadful agonies of anguish 
and despair shall he be overwhelmed, if he flies not to the 
merits of this bleeding Lamb, but lies under the burden of his 
own accumulated guilt ! 

The hour of sorrow which Jesus had so often mentioned, was 
almost come — a great multitude, with swords and staves, arrived, 
and the treacherous Judas, as their leader, gives the signal 
agreed upon. Wretched Judas ! his crime was attended with 
dreadful aggravation ; he had been a witness to the miracles which 
Christ wrought by his divine power, and therefore did not sin 
through ignorance. We have, in his case, an awful example of 
the danger of allowing any one secret sin ; none can say how far it 
may lead him. On our Lord's being seized, the aff'ectionate, but 
rash Peter, with more haste than prudence, struck the high 
priest's servant on the head ; but Christ reproved the action, for 
to resist a lawful magistrate, even in an unlawful act, is discoun- 
tenanced by the Gospel. On our Lord's quietly resigning him- 
self into the hands of his enemies, all the disciples who just be- 
fore had protested they would sooner die than forsake him, yet 
now, when put to the trial, deserted him and fled ; f so Httle do 
the best men know their own hearts until great trials assail them. 
So easy is it for us all to speak of enduring persecution — and yet 
so difiicult to bear up under it, when it actually comes — no crea- 
ture-strength will do in such times — the grace of Christ can alone 
fortify and preserve us. 

The grand council of the Jews met at the high priest's palace, 
waiting to have Jesus brought before them, and there they con- 
ducted him, bound like a criminal ; Peter also followed at a dis- 
tance, as if he were only a stranger, drawn there from mere cu- 
riosity. Observe the beginning of Peter's melancholy fall — he 
" followed afar off"." Let Christians dread the first motions of 
sin ; anything which would induce them to keep " afar off"' from 
the Lord in prayer, or from the company of his people, must end 
in what will be fatal to their peace and spiritual prosperity. The 

* iKdanPuaOat, v. 3,3, to be sore amazed. The Greek word signifies the astonish- 
ment that comes from fear : when a man seeth himself fall into some sudden 
distress, out of which he sees no coming out.' — Leigh. 

t Who the young man was, mentioned v. 61, is not stated. Theophylact thinks 
that he was one of tliat house where Christ eat the passover, and hearing of our 
Lord's danger, left his bed and ran to the garden, covered only with a linen cloth. 
It is not probable that he was one of the apostles. — See Mayer, Text 145. 



CHAP. XIV. 32—72.] S.MARK. 229 

council sought false witnesses against Jesus, well knowing they 
could procure no other : but their testimony did not agree, and 
on our Saviour's answering to the high priest's question in the 
affirmative, he said the evidence of guilt was sufficient, and so 
passed the sentence of death upon him. They then began to 
insult him in various ways, by which they unintentionally fulfilled 
several prophecies. One we may refer to. "I gave my back to 
the smiters, and my cheek to them that plucked off the hair ; I 
hid not my face from shame and spitting ; " * — which prophecy 
was uttered about seven hundred years before our Saviour's suf- 
ferings. 

Everything which Peter heard and saw in the palace of the 
high priest, was calculated to fill his mind with horror, and when, 
under the influence of terror and fright, he was charged with 
belonging to Jesus, he declared he knew him not ; but mark how 
one crime leads to another. He first tells a lie, and being ac- 
cused a second and third time, he adds oaths and curses to 
strengthen his falsehood ; but, the cock crowing a second time, 
his whole guilt rushed into his mind ; he immediately left the 
palace, full of the deepest shame and anguish, and wept bitterly 
at the remembrance of his cowardice and ingratitude. Peter was 
thus allowed to fall, to give him a better knowledge of his own 
heart — to lessen his confidence, and to make him more humble 
and modest : and, his whole conduct afterwards showed, that he 
profited by the painful lesson. 

The inspired writers commend themselves to us, by their faith- 
fulness in recording their own faults. If St. Mark wrote his 
Gospel, under the direction of Peter, as many suppose, we are 
constrained to admire the humility of Peter, more especially 
since his fall is related more strongly, and his repentance touched 
on more lightly, by this, than by any other of the sacred 
historians. But while his conduct shows us the folly of 
promising anything in our own strength, it also forcibly shows 
us the danger of yielding to the fear of man. Peter was 
naturally of a bold, intrepid spirit ; but the dread of scorn 
and suffering caused his courage to fail, and, except Judas 
the traitor, none of his brethren fell so low as he. He pur- 
chased a temporary peace, at the expense of his honour — his 
conscience — and his soul. It is justly said, that " the fear of 
man bringeth a snare." Perhaps it is one of the greatest snares 
that lie in our way to the kingdom of heaven. The profession 

* Isaiah 1. G. 



230 S. MARK. [chap. xv. 1—20. 

of Christianity does not now expose us to sufferings, as it did 
in the apostles' days ; but a real love to the Gospel, and con- 
formity to the Saviour's image, is as offensive now to the world, 
as it ever was ; nor can any one become a sincere and zealous 
follower of Christ, without incurring much hatred, contempt, 
and obloquy. Let those who are in any danger of yielding to 
this snare, and who would wish to be spared the bitter tears that 
its indulgence must cause, keep our Lord's words continually in 
mind, " whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also 
deny before my Father which is in heaven." 



CHAP. XV. 1—20. 



JESUS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE — HIS STRUGGLES OF CONSCIENCE YIELDS TO 

THE people's WISH — RELEASES BARABBAS THE MURDERER, AND DELIVERS 
JESUS TO BE MOCKED AND CRUCIFIED. 

And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the 
elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him 
away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the 
King of the Jews 1 And he answering said unto him. Thou sayest it. And 
the chief priests accused him of many things : but he answered nothing. 
And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing ? behold how 
many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing ; 
so that Pilate marvelled. Now at that feast he released unto them one 
prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, 
which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had 
committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud 
began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate 
answered them, saying. Will ye that I release unto you the King of the 
Jews ? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 
But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release 
Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What 
will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews ? 
And they cried out again. Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, 
what evil hath he done ? And they cried out the more exceedingly. Cru- 
cify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas 
unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. 
And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Prsetorium ; and they 
call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and 
platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head. And began to salute 
him, Hail, King of the Jews ! And they smote him on the head with a 
reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And 
when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put 
his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. 

What we read in the foregoing chapter of our Saviour's suffer- 
ings, was but an introduction to them — here we have their 



CHAP. XV. 1—20.] S. MARK. 231 

completion. We left him condemned by the Jewish priests and 
rulers ; but their power in cases of life and death being much 
limited, because of their subjection to the Romans, they sent 
him bound to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, charged with 
the crime of treason, as though he were anxious to be made 
king, in opposition to Csesar. How wonderfully does God ac- 
complish his purposes and predictions ! An extraordinary instance 
of this here occurs. Had the Jews been able to inflict the punish- 
ment of death, they would have stoned Jesus, as being in their 
view guilty of blasphemy. But the word of God had foretold 
that his hands and his feet should be pierced, and that his 
body should be so extended, that his bones could be clearly 
distinguished through his skin.* And this accordingly did 
happen ; for being given up to the Roman power, he suffered 
crucifixion, which was a Roman punishment. Sooner shall 
the sun move from its place in the centre of the universe, or the 
earth move out of its sphere, than a tittle of God's word fail of 
its accomplishment. 

A struggle now takes place in the breast of Pilate, between 
conscience and the love of popularity. His conscience tells him 
that Jesus was a holy man, and the evidence which was adduced, 
favours his acquittal ; he was moreover convinced that Jesus was 
delivered through envy, and not for real guilt ; yet, after all 
he suffers him to be condemned. How lamentably does worldly 
interest triumph over conscience, in this case, when, after all 
the convictions of his mind, he gives up Jesus to the popular 
fury ; and how wisely was it ordered by Divine Providence, that 
the testimony of the Saviour's innocency should be given by his 
judge, who, at the same time, was base enough to pass an unjust 
sentence. Are any of you inclined to censure the conduct of 
Pilate ? It was dreadful no doubt — but look closely into your 
own hearts, and see if you are not guilty of the same. Did it 
never happen that a point of duty was so clearly put before you, 
that conscience, reason, and the word of God approved your 
observing it — and yet, has not the fear of man's opinion, or the 
love of his praise, influenced you to choose the evil, and forsake 
the good ? and what is this but acting the part of Pilate ? 

The conduct of the people on this occasion, was marked by 
the most perverse blindness. For though they had gone so far 
as to bring Jesus like a prisoner to the bar of Pilate, yet they 
might even there have corrected their evil intentions. It was 

* Psalm xxii. 16, 17. 



282 S. MARK. [chap. xv. 1—20. 

customary for the Roman governor to release one prisoner at 
the passover, and Pilate, still anxious to follow the dictates of 
his conscience, asked them — " Will ye that I release unto you 
the King of the Jews? " but they refused the offer. " They 
denied the holy One and the just, and desired a murderer to be 
granted unto them." * What madness was this ! what blind in- 
fatuation ! but think again. Are you never guilty of the same? 
when you put away the invitations of Christ's Gospel, that you 
may retain your beloved sins, do you not prefer Barabbas to 
Jesus ? when you forsake or avoid the company of rehgious 
persons, that you may join in the society of the worldly, the 
profligate, or profane, do you not prefer Barabbas to Jesus ? 
when you choose any of the ways of Satan in preference to the 
commands of Christ, is not your conduct the same ? While you 
blame, then, the rulers and the people of the Jews, consider 
whether you are not condemning yourself. Their doom was 
awful ; and in it see a picture of what yours shall be, if you allow 
either worldly advantage or worldly friendship, to influence your 
mind in neglecting what your conscience approves, or doing what 
it disapproves. 

Pilate's conduct appears worse the more we look into it. 
Barabbas was not only a notoriously bad character, as a robber, 
but he was guilty of the very crime of which the scribes and 
priests falsely accused Jesus, viz, — having joined in, or headed an 
insurrection against the Romans ; and he had committed murder 
in the attempt. Yet this is the man which he allows to be re- 
leased in preference to Jesus. And now being condemned, by 
the decree of Pilate, we see the suffering Jesus exposed, not 
only to the insults of the Jewish rabble, but of the Roman sol- 
diers. He had been accused of making himself a king, and 
upon these grounds, they make sport of him. A robe — a crown — 
a sceptre, were all ensigns of royalty, and with these they deck 
him — but in mockery. Oh, what a sight was this! to see the 
Son of the Eternal, made a subject of cruel sport, by his re- 
belhous creatures ! How truly might he exclaim, " I am a 
worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the 
people." t How frequently should we " consider him who 
endured such contradiction of sinners against himself." J But, 
is not the same scene daily repeated, when such numbers offer 
to the Saviour the homage of their lips, while in works they 
deny him ? Let it be remembered that those who pretend sub- 

* Acts iii. 14, 1.5. t Pyalm xxii. 6. X ^eb. xii. 3. 



CHAP. XV. 21—47.] S. MARK. 233 

jection to Christ, and yet give themselves up to the service of 
the world and the flesh, do, in effect, the same as they who 
bowed the knee to him in mockery, and insulted him, saying — 
" Hail, king of the Jews,'' while they also said — " We have no 
king but Csesar." Those who bow the knee, but do not bow 
the soul, put the same affront upon Jesus that the Roman sol- 
diers did. 



CHAP. XV. 21—47. 

JESUS IS LED TO GOLGOTHA HIS CRUCIFIXION THE TRUE CAUSE OF HIS 

SUFFERINGS THE MIRACULOUS DARKNESS THE BODY OF JESUS BURIED 

BY JOSEPH. 

And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the 
country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they 
bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted. The place 
of a scull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh : but he 
received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his gar- 
ments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was 
the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his 
accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with 
him they crucify two thieves ; the one on his right hand, and the other on 
his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was num- 
bered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, 
wagging their heads, and saying. Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and 
buildest it in three days : Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 
Likewise also the chief priests, mocking, said among themselves with the 
scribes. He saved others : himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of 
Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and beUeve. And they 
that were crucified with, him reeled him. And when the sixth hour was 
come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And 
at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama 
sabachthani ? which is, being interpreted. My God, My God, why hast thou 
forsaken me ? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said. 
Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a sponge full of \inegar, 
and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying. Let alone ; let us see 
whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud 
voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain 
from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over 
against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said. Truly 
this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off : 
among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the 
less and of Joses, and Salome ; (Who also, when he was in GaUlee, followed 
him, and ministered unto him ;) and many other women which came up 
with him unto Jerusalem. And now when the even was come, because it 
was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arima- 
thea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, 
came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And 
Pilate marvelled if he were already dead : and calling vnto him the centu- 



234 S. MARK. [chap. xv.-21— 47. 

rion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he 
knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought 
fine Unen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the hnen, and laid him 
in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the 
door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses 
beheld where he was laid. 

We have here an account of the closing scene of our blessed 
Lord's life. He goes out from that once favoured, but now ac- 
cursed city of Jerusalem, and is led to Golgotha, " as a lamb to 
the slaughter." It was customary for the persons who were sen- 
tenced to crucifixion, to carry their cross to the place where 
they were crucified, and in the narrative of another of the evan- 
gelists, it seems that the cross was at first laid upon the Lord 
Jesus.* But having been so harassed by multiplied fatigues and 
miseries, he probably appeared almost exhausted, so that the 
people might fear, lest he should die of fatigue, and escape their 
further cruelties, if they compelled him to proceed with it. 
Therefore, meeting with a man named Simon of Cyrene, who 
evidently was suspected of favouring him, they obliged him to 
carry the cross — an apt representation of the believer's con- 
formity to his Lord, in bearing the scorn and hatred of the world. 
It was also customary to give those who were about to suffer 
this painful and lingering death, a draught of wine and spices, 
to benumb their feehngs : and some compassionate persons seem 
to have offered this cordial to Jesus, but he would not taste it, 
as his purpose was, to suffer death in all its bitterness. This 
draught was probably different from the vinegar mingled with 
gall, mentioned by St. Matthew t — ^which they gave him in 
mockery, and which he would not receive — to show that it was 
unlike the usual benumbing cordial given to others — which, 
when offered to him by his friends, he also refused, because he 
would not sweeten the bitter cup appointed to him by the 
Father. 

And now the hour was come, when the glorious work of re- 
demption should be completed, and the Saviour, who had all in 
heaven and earth at command, and who by a single mandate, 
could have swept his murderers into eternity, patiently submits 
while his hands and feet are pierced — his body extended on the 
tree — and while his sufferings are made the subject of their 
savage joy. Surely it must occur to us to enquire — for what 
did Christ suffer all these things ? — not, certainly, for his own 

* John xix. 17. t See Matt, xxvii. 33, 34. 



CHAP. XV. 21—47.] S. MARK. 235 

sins, for he had none, and even in the estimation of his judge, 
was innocent of the crime laid to his charge. The only answer 
which can be given, is that supplied by the word of God — 
that he, the just and holy one, died for unjust men, that by his 
atonement their sins might be expiated.* Happy they to 
whose account these all-prevaiHng merits are put down. His 
merits, indeed, are now laid up in the treasury of God's mercy, 
sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world, but are apphed to 
those alone whose hearts have been enlightened by the Spirit of 
God, to feel their sinfulness, and who, from a sense of utter 
want and helplessness, have made earnest application for pardon 
through his blood. 

We are told that Jesus was nailed to the cross, and that he 
hung suspended for several hours — the scorn of men, the wonder 
of angels : nor did so trifling a circumstance as the hour of his 
death occur, without reference to previous arrangement ; for it is 
worthy of remark, that it was the very hour at which the Israel- 
ites were commanded by God to kill the lamb for the passover ; 
and by expiring at the same time, our Lord showed that he was 
the true paschal lamb, whose blood, if sprinkled upon our hearts, 
will preserve us from the power of the destroying angel. 

Previous to his death, a miraculous darkness covered the land. 
It does not appear to have been universally felt, but while the 
sun was enlightening the rest of the earth, this one corner of the 
world, in which so horrible a crime was perpetrating, was 
covered with the thickest darkness. t This miracle may seem to 
have been opposed, by one directly opposite, viz. that when 
darkness covered the whole of Egypt, the sun shone upon the 
Israelites alone. Then, God intimated the destruction of the 
Egyptians, and the liberty of his people — now, on the contrary, 
he showed, that while miserable blindness was coming upon the 
Jews, (with which they are punished to the present time,) the 
heavenly light of the Gospel would arise on other nations. 

It would appear that our Lord hung in silent agony during the 
three hours of darkness ; at last, about the ninth hour, his grief 
burst forth, and with a loud cry, he gave vent to his sorrows, 
exclaiming " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." 
A deep and wonderful exclamation, uniting in one view the 
horrors of darkness that covered his soul, and yet the reliance 

* See 1 Pet. ii. 24. 
+ Whitby seems to think that this darkness was noticed by heathen writers as 
occurring in different parts of the world, and cites some remarkable testimonies 
from Origen, Tertullian, and Eusebius. — See his Annotations on v. 38. 



236 S. MARK. [chap. xv. 21—47. 

of faith in his Father's power. Still, " my God," though for- 
saken, but how forsaken, you may ask ; ' he means that he was 
under a suspension of that joyful communion with the Most 
High, which he had enjoyed to that moment. God's sensible con- 
solations were withdrawn from Christ's human nature. He 
therefore speaks according to that nature, because he felt ac- 
cording to it, he felt as a man.* And luhy forsaken ? Why, 
but that his people might not suffer the blackness of darkness 
for ever. Our sins caused this awful darkness in the Redeemer's 
soul, his sufferings will save us from the hiding of God's counte- 
nance for ever, if we trust in him. Should we be tried by a 
feeling of desertion at any time, let us not be overcome, but 
still cry to our Father, " My God, my God," and he will deh- 
ver us in his own time. The Lord grant that the narrative of 
these events, which display the Saviour's love, may work in us 
a saving knowledge of the truth ; so that by the teaching of the 
Spirit, we may, each, from our own experience, be enabled to 
say — " Truly this was the Son of God," who loved me, and gave 
himself for me. We have now seen the sufferings of our ex- 
piring Lord : let us view him by faith till the heart is affected, 
and till we learn to glory in nothing but his cross, whereby the 
world may be crucified unto us, and we unto the world. f 

The boldness of Joseph deserves our notice. He was not 
ashamed to acknowledge Christ, but came with holy reverence 
and affection to take down his sacred remains, which he safely 
deposited in his own new tomb ; thus fulfilling the prophecy of 
Scripture, which stated, that though he had his death with the 
wicked, he should have his grave with the rich. J 

We leave, for the present, his enemies in triumph, and his 
friends in tears, till his resurrection, which soon confounded the 
rage of the former, and revived the hopes of the latter — hopes, 
which must otherwise have been buried under that stone with 
which they now covered him. But happy and comfortable is the 
thought, that the Saviour has perfumed the grave by his trans- 
ient visit, and, so, has reconciled the believer to dwelling a 
while in that place where his Lord once lay. 

Note on v. 2.2.— roKyoea., (Golgotha) is a Chaldee word. The word for skull in 
Hebrew is similar, 2 Kings ix. 85. St. Mark here interprets it, " the place of a 
skull." ' On one occasion, about 32 years before this, Varus, the Governor of 
Syria, had crucified 2000 of the Jews at once, probably on this very spot.' — 
See note in Gresvvell, Disser. vol. iii. p. 159, and his reference to Jerome. 

* See Stevenson's Exposition of Psalm xxii. 
t Gal. vi. 14. i Isa. liii. 9. 



CHAP. XVI.] S, MARK. 237 



CHAP. XVI. 

THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST ITS IMPORTANCE — CHRIST APPEARETH TO 

MARY MAGDALENE AND OTHERS THE APOSTOLIC COMMISSION THE 

LORD JESUS ASCENDS INTO HEAVEN. 

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of 
James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and 
anoint him. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they 
came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among 
themselves. Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepul- 
chre ? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away : 
for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young 
man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment ; and they 
were affrighted . And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted : Ye seek 
Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified : he is risen ; he is not here : be- 
hold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples 
and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him, as 
he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre ; 
for they trembled and were amazed : neither said they anything to any man ; 
for they were afraid. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the 
week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven 
devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they 
mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, 
and had been seen of her, believed not. After that, he appeared in another 
form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And 
they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided 
them with their unbehef and hardness of heart, because they beUeved not 
them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go 
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that 
believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be 
damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In my name shall 
they cast out devils ! they shall speak with new tongues ; They shall take 
up serpents ; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; 
they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the 
Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on 
the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, 
the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. 
Amen. 

There is no one circumstance connected with the history of our 
blessed Lord which is so essential to the Christian's comfort, as 
his resurrection, for, as St. Paul observes — " if Christ be not 
raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins." * But 
blessed be God, who has left us no such uncertainty concerning 

* 1 Cor. XV. 17. 



238 S. MARK. [chap. xvi. 

the efficacy of the Saviour's atonement, as the want of the 
resurrection would have produced. He did leave the tomb on 
the third day as he promised ; he came forth a triumphant con- 
queror over death and Satan, and so revived the hopes, not 
only of his then disconsolate disciples, but of all his believing 
people to the end of time. Now is the justice of God amply 
satisfied, or he would never have released the prisoner. An 
angel descended — not to awaken Christ out of sleep, for he had 
within himself a power to resume that which he had voluntarily 
resigned ; but he came to add a solemn pomp to his revival, 
and to strike the guards with such a terror as would effectually 
prevent any mad attempt on this glorious conqueror, when he 
was bursting the bonds in which he had for a while been held. 

The women came early to the tomb, with sweet spices to 
embalm the body — an office which the lateness of the day on 
which he died prevented their performing : but we may recollect 
that this was, in a manner, done already by Mary, who poured 
upon his living head the box of precious ointment. Their inten- 
tion and motives were excellent, but their effort was useless, for 
the body was not allowed to lie so long in the tomb as to need 
any art for its preservation. Their astonishment was great to 
find the stone removed, and the sepulchre empty, and greater 
still, perhaps, to be addressed by an angelic messenger, who 
sends them on an errand to announce to the disciples their 
Master's resurrection — "go tell his disciples, and Peter." Why 
name Peter specially ? because his base conduct, in denying his 
Lord, might have made him think himself unworthy the name 
of a disciple, but to him also is the message sent, as a proof that 
he was not cast off by his long-suffering and gracious Master. 

After this our blessed Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene — 
then to two of the disciples as they walked to Emmaus * — and 
afterwards to the eleven as they sat at meat. We have the 
testimony of all these persons to the truth of the Saviour's resur- 
rection, nor did they acknowledge the fact, till they were per- 
suaded by the evidence of their senses. In this respect, they 
are of assistance to us, for we have the more reason to believe 
those, who, themselves, believed so slowly. Had they received 
the account at once, they might have been thought credulous, 
and their testimony the less to be regarded ; but their incredulity 
at first, shows that they did not believe it afterwards but upon a 
full conviction. And thus we have the best proof that they 

* See Luke xxiv. 13. 



CHAP. XVI.] S. MARK. 239 

were neither deceivers nor deceived — in a word, that their testi- 
mony was true. 

We have, in this chapter, our Lord's farewell address to his 
disciples ; and as love was so fully exhibited in entering the 
world, so love directed his every word and action up to the last 
moment of his stay. His concern was for the souls of men. 
And now that the Christian dispensation was to be introduced, 
and its blessings not to be confined to the Jewish people, the 
apostles are commissioned to "preach the Gospel to every 
creature." We, to this day, in this remote land, enjoy the 
benefit of it. The Lord has sent to us the gospel which the 
apostles preached, and he has given us duly ordained pastors, 
who, in this sense, succeed to the ministry of his first ambassa- 
dors. Let us remember the important consequences that will 
one day or other attend the Gospel's being brought to us. We 
have been favoured with a light which many nations have not 
yet seen. The Gospel has been preached to us, by the daily 
hearing of it in our family worship. It is preached when we 
read the word of God — it is preached when his faithful ministers 
speak agreeably to that holy word ; and every time we hear or 
read, we lie under deeper obligations, and under deeper con- 
demnation, if we make the Gospel of Christ a rock of offence, 
instead of building all our hopes upon that Saviour whom it re- 
veals. If we believe the Gospel, we shall be saved — but, if we 
beheve not, we shall be damned. The holiness of God is as 
much engaged to save the believer in Jesus, as it is to inflict 
woe upon the impenitent. We all have often heard the Gospel 
— are we under its influence, or are we not ? if we are, do we 
give proof of it by the holiness of our lives ? if we are not, do 
we indulge the vain hope that God will break his declaration 
by saving us in a way that contradicts his plan ? May the 
Lord enable us to decide aright, while our ears are still open to 
hear its sacred sound. 

St. Mark's gospel closes with an account of our Lord's ascen- 
sion. This was done in the sight of his disciples. His being 
seen after his resurrection was proof sufficient that he had risen, 
without their seeing him rise : but not so with his ascension, for 
they could not see him in heaven while they continued on earth 
— therefore, he ascended before their eyes. May our hearts be 
lifted up with him, and raised above the things of time and 
sense, and may the thoughts of his second coming continually 
dwell upon our minds, that so when the trumpet's sound pro- 
claims the approaching Saviour, we may with confidence lift up 



240 S.MARK. [chap. xyi. 

our heads, and meet him, not as a condemning judge, but as our 
eternal portion and the triumphant King of kings. 

Note 1, v. 7. — These women followed Christ out of Galilee, therefore the Angel 
foretels, that before they should return to Galilee, Christ should go before 
them and manifest himself unto them there, according to the promise in Matt. 
xxvi. 32. But wherefore doth the Angel foretel that Christ should specially 
go before them to Galilee, and that they should see him there, when he was 
neither seen there only, or for the.'_^rs^ time ? Because Christ and the Angel 
speak of that solemn and public apparition, in which Christ revealed himself 
to all the disciples together, in a mountain of Galilee. — See Leigh's Annotations. 

Note 2, v. 19 — We must consider what St. Mark subjoins, " and sat at the right 
hand of God." Whereas Stephen says " I see the heavens opened and the Son 
of Man standing." Now sitting is the attitude of a judge, standing of one 
fighting or helping. Stephen, therefore, when toiling in the contest saw him 
standing, whom he had for his helper, but Mark describes him as sitting after 
his assumption, because after this glory, he will in the end be seen as 
judge." — Gregory's Homilies. 



THE GOSPEL 



ACCORDING TO 



St. LUKE. 



CHAP. I. 1—25. 

ST, LUKe's preface THE CONCEPTION AND BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST- — 

EXHORTATION TO PARENTS. 

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of 
those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they de- 
livered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and 
ministers of the word ; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect un- 
derstanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, 
most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those 
things, wherein thou hast been instructed. There was in the days of Herod, 
the king of Judsea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia : 
and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the command- 
ments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, be- 
cause that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in 
years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office be- 
fore God in the order of his course. According to the custom of the priest's 
office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the 
Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the 
time of incense. And there appeared unto hiiri an angel of the Lord stand- 
ing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, 
he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him. 
Fear not, Zacharias : for thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elisabeth shall 
bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have 
joy and gladness ; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be' 
great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong- 
drink ; and he shall be filled vdth the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's' 
womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their. 
God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn 
the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom' 
of the just ; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias 
said unto the angel. Whereby shall I know this ? for I am an old man, and 
VOL. I. • R 



242 S. LUKE. [chap. 1. 1—25. 

my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I 
am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God ; and am sent to speak unto 
thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be 
dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be per- 
formed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in 
their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he 
tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak 
imto them : and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple : 
for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to 
pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he 
departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth con- 
ceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with 
me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among 
men. 

We are now entering on the record of the third Evange- 
list — St. Luke, who was the companion of St. Paul during 
all his travels, and to whom, under God's direction, we are 
also indebted for the valuable history of the early church, con- 
tained in " the Acts of the Apostles." * St. Paul calls him, 
*' the beloved physician," f and, " the brother, whose praise 
is in the Gospel throughout all the churches." J This nar- 
rative of Christ's history he had been induced to undertake, 
because those which other well-meaning persons had attempted, 
were not compiled with sufficient accuracy. In this under- 
taking he was directed by the Spirit of God ; by whose inspira- 
tion he was constantly guided through all the period of his 
labours ; of this we have abundant proof, from the approbation 
of an inspired apostle, the ready reception of his Gospel by the 
early Church, and by the whole tenor of this portion of the 
Bible, which not only accords with the other Gospels, but con- 
tains some prophecies respecting the destruction of Jerusalem, 
which are more minutely related by him than by the other 
Evangelists. 

He addressed this Gospel to Theophilus, a name which signi- 
fies a lover of God, and from the title which he gave him — 
" most excellent " — he appears to have been a person of rank 
and authority. Religion does not destroy civility and good 
manners, but teaches us, according to the usages of our country, 
to give " honour to whom honour is due." St. Luke would seem 
to have written this Gospel for the benefit of Theophilus ; but 
God has graciously intended it and preserved it, for the use 
of his Church in all ages. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit's 
teaching, that by this repeated " declaration of those things 

* See Acts i. 1, 2. t Col. iv. 14. 1 2 Cor. viii. 18. 



CHAP. I. 1— 2o.] S. LUKE. 24:^ 

which are most surely believed," and wherein we have already 
been instructed by St. Matthew and St. Mark, we may be so 
acquainted with the character of that Saviour whom they de- 
scribe as to know, by experimental enjoyment, the certainty of 
those truths which are here related. 

The two preceding- Evano^elists began their histories with the 
baptism of John ; but St. Luke begins earlier, and tells of his 
conception and birth. His father was a Jewish priest, of the 
family of Aaron, whose name was Zacharias.* When in David's 
time the family of Aaron was multiplied, he divided them into 
twenty-four courses, for the more regular performance of their 
office : the eighth of those courses, was that of Abia,t and to it 
Zacharias belonged. His wife, too, was a descendant of Aaron, 
for the Jewish priests were careful to marry within their own 
family, that they might maintain the dignity of the priesthood. 
Of these two persons, it is said, that they were " both righteous," 
not merely in the sight of men, but " before God." They, as 
sinners, were justified and saved in the same way as others, but 
their religion was not put on as a mask of hypocrisy ; it was the 
work of God upon their hearts, and their obedience was the fruit 
of gratitude. Yet, like many, or, we might say, like oM the 
people of God, they had some trial to endure, and theirs was that 
of being childless. For the removal of this affliction they seemed 
to have often prayed ; but God, for wdse purposes, saw fit to 
delay their request for a long time. At length, they were visited 
in mercy, and while Zacharias was engaged within the tabernacle, 
offering up incense, the angel Gabriel, "]: w^ho stood in the pre- 
sence of God, appeared, and announced to him the grateful in- 
telligence that Elisabeth should have a son. The character of 
this child, and the office which he was to sustain, were also dis- 
tinctly related. As a token of his entire devotedness to God, it 
was promised that he should be a perpetual Nazarite ; and 
though " conceived in sin " like others, that a saving change 
should be wrought in his heart by the Spirit of God, even at 
his birth, which should appear in his eminent wisdom and piety 
from his earliest youth ; that in due time he should go forth a 

* The time of his birth is further noted by its happening in the reign of 
Herod the Great. Calvin justly says, the departure of the sceptre from Judah 
was not so much evinced by Herod, being a foreigner (of Idumaean extraction,) 
as by his submission to the Roman sway, and by his despoiling Judah of all 
independance. t See 1 Chron. xxiv. 10, 

t Gabriel is a Hebrew name, signifying " the strength of God." Zacharias 
might be taught by his very name, that all things were easy to God. The same 
angel was sent to tell Daniel of the time, when the Messiah might be expected. 
Dan. ix. 21, 24, 25, and to inform Zacharias that the time had now expired. 

R 2 



244 S. LUKE. [chap. i. 1— 2o. 

zealous preacher and successful reformer ; and that acting in 
the spirit of Elijah, he should prepare the Jewish people for 
the coming of the Messiah, who should immediately follow him.* 
We may well suppose that a pious parent, as Zacharias was, 
would have joy and gladness at the birth of such a child. No- 
thing could give him so much pleasure as to know that his child 
was to be ^' great in the sight of the Lord." Can it be said, 
that the generality of parents experience the same pleasure which 
this holy man did, at hearing that his child should be great in 
the sight of the Lord ? Judging by the education which parents 
in general give their children — the great anxiety they manifest 
for their external accomplishments, and the shameful neglect of 
their religious improvement — may it not be justly said, that it 
gives them more pleasure that their children should be great in 
the esteem of the world, than that they should be " great in the 
sight of the Lord ? " Oh ! what will such parents have to 
answer for, and how will the weight of guilt which their children . 
accumulate, add to their own sufferings ! What a pleasure should 
it be to parents to think that many may yet have reason to 
rejoice in the birth of their children, by their being the instru- 
ments of imparting to others the saving knowledge of the Gos- 
pel ! And what a curse is it to those parents who bring up their 
children so regardless of religion that they not only perish, but 
by their example or unholy conversation, draw others into per- 
dition with themselves. Think, ye parents, to whom God has 
given so important a charge, what an awful responsibility at- 
taches to you ! Present them to Christ first, in holy baptism, with 
the encouragement, which St. John's case gives, that they may 
be filled with the Spirit from their earliest day. Bring them to the 
font in faith and earnest prayer, and then the water of baptism 
shall not be a naked sign, but a seal of those covenant blessings 
which the Lord bestows on his faithful people. You should also 
pursue a consistent course with your children ; bring them up as 
part of the flock of Christ. By precept, example, and discipline, 
train them up in the fear of the Lord. Oh ! pray for your 
children, that they may be " filled with the Holy Ghost ; " teach 
them, with their earliest powers, to lisp the name of Jesus ; tell 
them of his matchless love — bring them up in his fear, and in 
the love of his holy word — and so be assured you shall have joy 
and gladness in the evening of your days. Be not faithless, as 
Zacharias was : he was struck dumb for doubting what the Lord's 

* See Mai. iv. 5, 6. 



CHAP. I. 2(J— 56.] S. LUKE. 24o 

messenger said ; and unbelief is as great a sin now as it was then. 
Keraind the Lord of his promise — ask him to do as he has said ; 
and while so many thoughtless parents are ruining the souls of 
their children by neglect, and by a desire for their worldly ad- 
vancement, let it be your care to follow up what was solemnly pro- 
mised in their baptism, that they, " renouncing "the world, the 
flesh and the devil," should walk in God's commandments all the 
days of their hves. 



Note on v. 1. — imrXnpoipop-qixfvwv. Campbell contends that this word when applied 
' '' ■ ' ' ^ ' ''■ ' endered—/2<Z/f7^efZ, and when, to persons, CO «' "' 
Translation of the Gospels, vol. ii. p. 484. 



to things (as here) should be rendered— fidfilled, and when, to persons, convinced 
— as in Rom. iv. 21. See his Translai 



CHAP. I. 26—56. 



gabriel s announcement to mary the fulfilment of prophecy in 

Christ's incarnation — mary's faith and privileges — her visit 
to elisabeth, and her song of praise. 

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of 
Galilee, named Nazareth, To a margin espoused to a man whose name was 
Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the 
angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the 
Lord is with thee ; blessed art thou among women. Aiid when she saw 
him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of 
salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary : 
for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in 
thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He 
shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord 
God shall give unto him the throne of his father David : And he shall 
reign over the house of Jacob for ever : and of his kingdom there shall be 
no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I 
know not a man ? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy 
Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over- 
shadow thee : therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee 
shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she 
hath also conceived a son in her old age : and this is the sixth month with 
her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. 
And Mary said. Behold the handmaid of the Lord ; he it unto me according 
to thy word. And the angel departed from her. xlnd Mary arose in those 
days, and went into the hill-country with haste, into a city of Juda ; and 
entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came 
to pass, that, when Ehsabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped 
in her womb ; and Ehsabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost : And she 
spake out with a loud voice, and said. Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the 
mother of my Lord should come to me ! For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy 
salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And 
blessed is she that believed : for there shall be a performance of those 
things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth 



246 S. LUKE. [chap. i. 26—50'. 

magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For 
lie hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden ; for, hehold, from 
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty 
hath done to me areat things ; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on 
them that fear him, from generation to generation. He hath shewed 
strength with his arm ; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of 
their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted 
them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things ; and the 
rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in re- 
membrance of his mercy ; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to 
his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and re- 
turned to her own house. 

In six months after the conception of John the Baptist, the same 
angel Gabriel, who had been commissioned to announce his 
birth to Zacharias, is now sent to proclaim the Saviour's advent. 
Let us observe the wonderful accomplishment of prophecy, in all 
that related to the birth of Jesus. 

So early as the third chapter of Genesis, where the first pro- 
mise of the Saviour is given, it is said, that he should be " the 
seed of the woman " * — an expression which clearly shows, that 
though born of a woman, he should not be born of a man, for 
then must he have inherited the corrupt nature and the conse- 
quent curse which was entailed on all, who should descend from 
Adam in the ordinary course of nature. Again, it was foretold 
by the prophet Isaiah, " Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear 
a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."f These things 
which seemed impossible with man, were yet possible with God ; 
and now, when the time fixed in the councils of eternity had 
arrived, the Saviour's approaching birth is made known to a 
poor and obscure virgin, who was destined to be the future wife 
of as poor a person, named Joseph ; but she was informed that 
though betrothed in marriage, yet that it was as a virgin that 
she was to be the honoured instrument of giving birth to the pro- 
mised Messiah, who shouldbe miraculously conceived in her womb. 

The angel's message had a twofold communication. First, 
announcing the glory of that Saviour, to whom Mary was to 
give birth. So that by that ever-precious and significant name, 
Jesus, the glad tidings of salvation were pubhshed to her, and 
to all generations. Every sorrow the Saviour afterwards en- 
dured, every act of obedience to his Father, all bore on this 
gracious name, and breathed out salvation to a guilty world ; 
whilst the promise that the " Lord God should give unto him 
the throne of his Father David," leads us on to the period of 

■■• Gen. iii. l.j. t Isa. vii. 14. 



CHAP. 1. 26—56.] S. LUKE. 247 

his triumphant kingdom, when Judah shall be saved, and Israel 
shall dwell safely ; when Jerusalem shall be called the throne of 
the Lord, and all the nations of the world shall bow to the scep- 
tre of king Messiah.* In reply to Mary's question, " How 
shall this be ? " the angel declares the miraculous conception in 
these words, " The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the 
power of the highest shall overshadow thee ; therefore also that 
holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of 
God." Here is no explanation given, but such an announce- 
ment as showed that in her offspring should be found united the 
divine and human nature. The faith of Mary on hearing this 
message was marvellously great — instead of cavilling or question- 
ing further, she meekly submits and says, " Be it unto me 
according to thy word ; " faith believes that nothing is impos- 
sible with God. Nor does she listen to the natural fears that 
might arise in her mind. She would be exposed to the inju- 
rious reflection of her neighbours, and even to danger from the 
Levitical law, for God had commanded that a virgin betrothed, 
should, if unfaithful to her engagements, be punished with 
death. t These fears she must have had, and that there were 
just grounds for them, appears by the very purpose which 
Joseph formed, of putting her away as an adulteress, and which 
was only prevented by the intervention of God himself, who 
revealed his purposes in a dream, and commended her to his 
peculiar care. J But she was persuaded of the Lord's power to 
screen and protect her ; and therefore, at once yielded herself to 
his will, saying, " Behold the handmaid of the Lord ; be it unto 
me according to thy word." 

That Mary was " highly favoured," in being the vessel 
chosen for the reception and production of the man Christ 
Jesus, is a fact beyond doubt ; but we positively deny that there 
is in this, or in any other chapter of the Bible, an expression, 
which warrants that adoration and worship which so many pay 
to her. This awful error and positive idolatry, seem to have 
taken rise in the inclination of fallen man to exalt the creature ; 
and perhaps, in a corrupt state of the outward church, it was en- 
grafted from heathen idolatry. She was first called " the Mother 
of God," afterwards applied to as a mediator, and then became 
an object of divine worship. As all this commenced in error, so 
it ends in a direct insult to a jealous God. Mary is not " the 
Mother of God," a most unscriptural and improper phrase, but 

* See Jei'. iii. 17, and xxiii. 5 — 8. 
t See Deut. xxii. 23, 24. J Matt. i. 18—20. 



248 S. LUKE. [chap. i. 2(i— 5(>. 

the mother of Christ's human nature — which, as consistino; of 
soul and body, was hke Mary's nature, even as she was like all 
other women. Let us also remember that though she was 
"blessed among; women" in respect to this privilege, yet, in a 
higher sense, all believers are partakers of her glory, *= — for when 
the people once exclaimed — " Blessed is the womb that bare 
thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked," the Saviour imme- 
diately replied — ^" yea, rather blessed are they that hear the 
word of God and keep it." f 

Immediately on receiving this intelligence from the angel, 
Mary set out from Nazareth upon a journey to visit her cousin 
EUsabeth at Jerusalem J ; a distance of about sixty miles, over a 
very hilly country, and very difficult to traverse at that time. 
Her wisdom in taking this step was remarkable, for, by commu- 
nicating the vision she had seen, she might convince Zacharias 
and Elizabeth that there was something singular in her case, and 
so might bring in the reputation of these worthy and eminent 
persons to support her own, which might otherwise be exposed 
to suspicion and censure. The conduct of Elizabeth, on Mary's 
arrival, is also worthy our attention. She neither was elated 
with the honour that had been conferred on her, nor was she 
envious of the superior honour bestowed on Mary ; but, losing 
sight of her own mercies, she rejoices altogether in those which 
had been vouchsafed to her pious friend. Never shall we be 
enabled to observe that holy precept, " In honour preferring 
one another," and never shall that pride and selfishness which 
belong to our corrupt nature be removed, till we possess that 
Christian charity or love, spoken of by the Apostle, which 
*' seeketh not her own, envieth not, vaunteth not itself, and 
is not puffed up." § 

And Mary too, in her reply, showed clearly on what her mind 
was fixed. Not a word of self-exaltation escaped her lips ; but 
in her comprehensive and inspired hymn of praise, she rejoices 
in the prospect of pardon and deliverance for herself and others, 
through the merits of the coming Saviour. She says, " My 
soul doth magnify the Lord, and my Spirit hath rejoiced in 
God my Saviour." In calling Christ her Saviour, she inti- 
mated that she was a sinner — for none else can apply to Jesus 
in this way. This proves that though we may call her the 

* More blessed, says Augustine, in receiving the faith, than in conceiving the 
flesh of Christ. t Luke xi. 28. 

X Some think that Mary went to visit Elizabeth at Hebron, a city of priests, 
about 2.5 miles from Jerusalem, and nearly one hundred from Nazareth. 
§ 1 Cor. xiii. 4, ■'). 



CHAP. I. .57—80.] S. LUKE. 249 

"blessed Virgin Mary," we must not use those unscriptural 
appellations, " the immaculate virgin," " the gate of heaven," 
&c. Could she now hear such addresses, she; would turn from 
them with holy grief, and instead of receiving them, give again 
all the praise to the incarnate Son of God. 

Let our faith, like that of Mary, rest on all the promises 
which the Lord has made. Let our souls " magnify the Lord," 
and our spirits rejoice in that Jesus, who, being " God," has 
become our " Saviour " — whose condescension hath regarded us 
in that " low estate," in which sin hath plunged us, and whose 
almighty power and love " hath done for us great things." He 
hath provided heavenly food to satisfy our hungry souls, and 
hath exalted us to see and enjoy the mercies which, in "obscure 
intimations only, were promised to the pious patriarchs. " His 
mercy is on them that fear him." May we fear offending'^him 
by neglecting the Saviour, rather than fear the world's frown 
by becoming his true disciples. 

Note. — It is no wonder that Mary's song of praise becomes our " magnificat " in 
the solemn service of the Church — every word was inspired— much was pro- 
phetic. In a concise commentaiy, like this, we can only call attention^to this 
comprehensive burst of praise. 



CHAP. I. 57—80. 

ZACHARIAS'S PROPHETIC HYMN A GENERAL APPLICATION OF IT. 

Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered ; and she brought 
forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had 
shewed great mercy upon her ; and they rejoiced with her. And it came 
to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child ; and they 
called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother 
answered and said, Not^o; but he shall be called John. And they said 
unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And 
they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he 
asked for a writing-table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they 
marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue 
loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt 
round about them : and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all 
the hill-country of Judaea. And all they that heard thetn laid them up in 
their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand 
of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the 
Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; 
for he hath %-isited and redeemed his people. And hath raised up an horn 
of salvation for us in the house of his servant Dand ; As he spake by the 
mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began : That 
we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate 
us ; To perform the mercy ;)ro»»>e(/ to our fathers, and to remember his 



250 S. LUKE. [chap. i. 57—80. 

holy covenant ; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he 
would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies 
might serve hiin without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, 
all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of 
the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his 
ways ; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of 
their sins. Through the tender mercy of our God ; whereby the day- 
spring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in dark- 
ness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till 
the day of his shewing unto Israel. 

Considering the depth of humiliation to which the Son of 
God submitted in taking upon him our nature, it was necessary 
that his birth should be attended with such circumstances, as 
were calculated to impress the minds of men with a conviction 
of his real character. Accordingly we find, that, previous to 
his birth, there was ample testimony given to him as a most 
extraordinary personage, such as the world had never before 
seen. A person was sent " to prepare his way before him ; " 
and this forerunner was distinguished by a preternatural birth. 
The father of this messenger was informed by an angel that his 
aged, and hitherto barren wife, should conceive a son, who 
should be called John.* On his expressing some doubt of the 
angel's veracity, he w^as struck dumb for his unbelief; and con- 
tinued so, till after the birth of the promised child ; and then, 
on his confirming the decision of his wife respecting the name 
of the child, which had been previously directed by the angel, 
his tongue was loosed, and his powers of speech restored. He 
then broke forth into a prophetic hymn of praise, in which he 
overlooks his own mercies in the birth of his child, and blesses 
God for the accomplishment of his promises in the advent of the 
Messiah. The language which he is made to adopt is calcu- 
lated to show, that the deliverance of captive sinners from 
Satan's bondage by the coining of Christ, was prefigured, by 
the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery. " Blessed be 
the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his 
people." When Abraham was warned of the afflictions of his 
posterity, he was also told that they should be rescued by a 
wonderful deliverance. Joseph, in his dying hour, assured his 
brethren that God would visit them, and bring them thence,t 

* Iwauvrjs. John signifies grace, because so full of grace himself, and the means 
of turning many to the Lord. The name was given at the time of circumcision, 
as ours at baptism. Though they often circumcised at home, yet not without the 
company of friends, how much more should baptism be with us a public 
ordinance 1 f See Gen. 1. 24, 



CHAP. I. 57—80.] S. LUKE. 251 

and Moses was, in due time, sent to inform them, that God was 
come at last to visit and dehver them. 

The prospect of the Saviour's coming, had excited a lively 
joy in the breast of Abraham, at the distance of two thousand 
years ; and all who, in the intermediate space, had successively 
ijeheved the promises, hved and died in the pleasing expecta- 
tion, that the happiness denied to them, should be granted to 
their posterity. When the time for the Messiah's advent drew 
near, the expectation for him became more general, more joyful, 
and more assured. What wonder then that on the sight of his 
forerunner, Zacharias should burst forth in a song of praise ? In 
the confidence of faith, he spoke of the Saviour as already 
come — yea, and the work of redemption as already effected, 
thouo-h there were yet several months to elapse before he should 
be born into the world. 

What multiplied praises in heaven and earth did the Saviour's 
advent occasion ! And shall not we unite in blessing " the 
Lord God of Israel, who hath visited and redeemed his people ? " 
We are surely as much concerned in the raising up of this 
"horn of salvation," and in the redemption which he purchased 
by his blood, as the Jews of old were. The predictions of holy 
prophets being fulfilled in Christ, confirm the truth of the Scrip- 
tures to us : and the covenant and oath of God to Abraham 
were intended to give " strong consolation to those who flee for 
refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before them." The whole 
Scripture gives assurance of salvation to all believers, " by the 
remission of their sins ; " and " through the tender mercy of 
our God, the day-spring from on high, hath visited" these 
distant nations, to give light to poor benighted Pagans, as our 
ancestors were, who then " sat in darkness, and in the shadow 
of death." 

But all external privileges are of no avail, so long as our 
hearts are uninfluenced by the power of Christ's rehgion. What 
pleasure does the beauty of nature afford to a man born blind ? 
What advantage does he gain by the cheering rays of the sun ? 
They shine, but he is incapable of enjoying them. Just as in- 
capable are we all, by nature, of receiving the light of the gos- 
pel. Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, pours forth beams of 
spiritual light and heat around us ; but the God of this world 
hath blinded our minds, so that we cannot see its splendour, till 
that moral inability which prevails, is removed by the Spirit of 
God. Till then, '" the light shineth in darkness, and the dark- 
ness comprehendeth it not ; " but when that spiritual operation 



252 S. LUKE. [chap. ii. I—IO. 

is performed, those who before " sat in darkness, and in the 
shadow of death," then see " a great hght." " Through the 
tender mercy of God, the day-spring from on high visits them " 
— and their feet are guided into the ways of peace, such as they 
never before enjoyed. Let us pray, that God may work this 
mighty change upon each of our hearts, that he " who com- 
manded the hght to shine out of darkness would shine into our 
hearts, and give us the hght of the knowledge of his glory, in 
the face of Jesus Christ." 



CHAP. II. 1—20. 



AUGUSTUS TAXETH ALL THE ROMAN EMPIRE JOSEPH AND MARY AT BETH- 
LEHEM — Christ's nativity. 

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar 
Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first 
made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, 
every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out 
of the city of Nazareth, into Judsea, unto the city of David, which is called 
Bethlehem ; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :) To be 
taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, 
that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be 
delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn sou, and wrapped him in 
swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger ; because there was no room 
for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds 
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, 
the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone 
round about them : and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto 
them, Fear not : for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David 
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you ; 
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddhng-clothes, lying in a manger. 
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host ; 
praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, 
good will toward men. And it came to pass as the angels were gone away 
from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another. Let us now 
go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which 
the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and 
found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they 
had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them con- 
cerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things 
which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, 
and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying 
and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it 
was told unto them. 

The accomplishment of prophecy is no more remarkable, than 
is the manner in which the Almighty effects it. Sometimes he 



.t HAi'. IT. 1— -JO.] S. LUKE. '26'-i 

directs the hearts of men to act in accordance with his wishes ; 
and at others, he leaves them to follow their own inclinations, 
and by their evil intentions, fulfills his purposes. The truth of 
this observation is borne out by the chapter before us. It had 
been predicted, many ag-es before, that the Messiah should 
be born at Bethlehem.* Yet, within a very short time of his 
expected birth, we find that Mary was hving at Nazareth — a 
city, above sixty miles distant from Bethlehem. To all human 
appearance, it seemed improbable that Mary should take such a 
journey, at such a time ; and it must have seemed next to im- 
possible, that she should be directed to go, without an express 
command from heaven. But God's w^ord must be fulfilled, and 
let us observe the mode of its accomphshment. Augustus 
CsDsar, the Roman Emperor, being left to follow the dictates of 
his own ambition, issued an order, that an account should be 
taken of the number of all the subjects in his vast empire, which, 
in a vain -glorious style, was then commonly called — " the 
world." This enrolment or census was a reofistering^ of all his 
subjects — their age, oflSce, and employment. It began about 
three years before the birth of Jesus, and had now reached Beth- 
lehem. The actual taxing was not enforced until some years 
after this.f In consequence of this, all persons were required 
to resort to the city to which they belonged, and thus, it be- 
came incumbent on Joseph and Mary, being the lineal descend- 
ants of David, to go to Bethlehem, the city of the former, for 
this purpose. Thus was the prophecy fulfilled, that Christ 
should be born at Bethlehem ; and thus, in pursuance of another 
prophecy, was it clearly established that he belonged to" the 
family of David. 

After the arrival of Joseph and Mary at Bethlehem, it is pro- 
bable that some time elapsed before their turn came to be en- 
rolled, and in this interval, the period of Mary's delivery arrived, 
and the long-expected Messiah was born. But what do we be- 
hold ! The Redeemer of the world, destitute of an accommo- 
dation, upon his entrance into it ! Had he been born of an 
imperial family, and placed under a canopy of gold and velvet, 
yet, would all this have been abasement in the eyes of those, 
who had beheld the glories of his celestial throne, and the 
honours paid him in the world above. But, behold the Son 

* See Micah v. 2. 
t See Piideaux's Connection of Sacred and Profane History, vol. ii. lib. 9.— 
Also, Greswell's Dissertation on the census of Cyrenius, Diss. xii. vol. i. — and 
also, Elsley's Annotations on the Gospels, vol. ii. p. 82. 
1 Psalm cxxxii. 11. 



254 S. LUKE. [chap. ii. 1— 2('. 

of God, and the heir of all things, not only an inhabitant of 
earth, but, we may say, choosing for himself a situation, which 
the poorest would have thought mean and despicable. His first 
habitation was a stable, and his cradle — a manger.* How does 
this humiliation of the Son of God exhibit the hollowness of all 
earthly pomp — for which, the sons of men pant and strive so 
earnestly. Christ's glory was in his condescension, and our true 
happiness is, like him, to sit loose to earthly things, and set all 
our affections on those things that never fade away. 

Yet, mean as the birth of Jesus might appear, his heavenly 
Father did not leave him without witness. We see him, in this 
wonderful account that the evangelist hath given us, surrounded 
with a brighter lustre than a court or a crown could have afford- 
ed. Angelic legions are employed, as heralds, to proclaim the 
new-born king. Their noble anthem rang through the heavens 
— " Glory to God in the highest ; and on earth, peace ; good- 
will towards men."| They first ascribe all the praise to Jeho- 
vah, and then salute men with a message of peace ; they are 
indeed well joined together, for the Lord's glory is pecu- 
liarly manifested in his good-will and free grace to a fallen and 
guilty world. Nor were they sent to the great and noble, — to 
Herod, or the chief priests, — but to humble, pious shepherds, 
who kept, by turns, the watches of the night, to ensure the 
safety of their flocks. Who would not have shared in their 
poverty and fatigue, to have heard with them these "good 
tidings of great joy ? " Yet do we hear them daily — not from 
the lips of angels — but recorded as they fell from the hps of Him, 
of whom these angels testified. What impression do they 
make ? Are they to us " tidings of great joy," or do we listen 
to them as we should do to any interesting tale of ancient history, 
without ever producing any effect upon our lives ? Unless the 
gospel of Christ has caused us to renounce the world, and live 
to the glory of God — unless it has made known to our hearts 
that Saviour, who has made our peace with God, and can give 
us peace of mind ; and unless good-will towards all our fellow- 
creatures reign within us, that gospel has been heard to no 
purpose. 

* All the ancients hold that' this manger was a place outside the city, hewed out 
of a rock, and called by the name of a manger. Thus Basil, ' The birth of Christ 
was a common feast of all creatures : angels come singing from heaven, the stars 
run about the heavens, the magi are brought from the Gentiles, and the earth re- 
ceiveth him in a cave.' 

t Some read it " peace to men of good will," but this does not agree with the 
whole tenor of the Gospel, which is a message to sinners ; nor does it accord with 
the best manuscript readings. See Leigh. 



CHAP. II. 21—52.] S. LUKE. 2.>5 

But what would the shepherds have been profited by the 
tidings which the angels announced to them, respecting the Sa- 
viour's birth, if, like too many amongst us, they contented them- 
selves with admiring the eloquence of the speaker, or the sweet- 
ness and melody of the hymn they sang ? They set us a good 
example. They desired the edification of their souls. They 
proposed immediately to inquire into the things they had heard, 
and without having their faith shaken by the meanness of the 
Saviour's appearance, they honour him as their God, and then 
publish the glad tidings to all around. So shall we, if we have 
found Jesus to be our Saviour. We shall imitate the conduct 
of the famished lepers,* who, when they had found the Syrian 
camp deserted, and a vast plenty of provision and booty lying 
unprotected, " said one to another, we do not well, this day is 
a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace; now, therefore 
come, that we may go and tell the king's houshold." The rea- 
son why people are averse to speak on the subject of rehgion, is, 
because they do not feel its importance ; but they to whom the 
Saviour has been revealed, " cannot but speak the things which 
they have seen and heard." 

Note on v. 4. Bishop Andrews says of Bethlehem, " Honour it— a star is over 
it — a Saviour is there— more good comes out of that poor town than all the 
glorious cities of the world. Emmanuel is born there — our ruler — our Re- 
deemer — our guide." 



CHAP. II 21—52. 

THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST HIS PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE SIMEON 

AND ANNA PROPHESY OF HIM HE QUESTIONETH IN THE TEMPLE WITH 

THE DOCTORS. 

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his 
name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was 
conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according 
to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to 
present him to the Lord ; (As it is written in the law of the Lord. Every 
male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to 
offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A 
pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man 
in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was just and 
devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel : and the Holy Ghost was upon 
him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should 
not see death, before he had seen the liOrd's Christ. And he came by the 
Spirit into the temple : and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 

* See 2 Kings vii. 9. 



256 S. LUKE. [( hap. ii. 21—52. 

to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his 
arms, and blessed God, and said. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant de- 
part in peace, according to thy word : For mine eyes have seen thy salva- 
tion. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people ; A light to 
hghten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and 
his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And 
Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother. Behold, this child 
is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which 
shall be spoken against ; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own 
soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there 
was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: 
she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her 
virginity ; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which 
departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers 
night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto 
the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in 
Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the 
law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, tilled with wisdom : and 
the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every 
year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, 
they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they 
had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in 
Jerusalem ; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, sup- 
posing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey ; and they 
sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found 
him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came 
to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the 
midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And 
all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And 
when they saw him, they were amazed : and his mother said unto him. 
Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us ? Behold, thy father and I have 
sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them. How is it that ye sought 
me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ? And they 
understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down 
with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them : but his 
mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in 
wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. 

At the time appointed by the Mosaic law, our Lord Jesus un- 
derwent the rite of circumcision — in obedience to that ritual, 
of which he was the sum and substance ! thus proving that he 
was of the nation of Israel and the end of the law, for righte- 
ousness to every one that believes. We also find Joseph and 
Mary going to the temple, to offer the usual sacrifices for her 
purification ; * and, taking with her the infant Messiah, to pre- 
sent before the Lord her first-born son. It might be thought 
that as Mary did not bring forth a sinful child, as other women, 
these rites of purification were unnecessary, — but she submitted 

* See Lev. xii. 8. 



CHAP. II. 21-52.] S. LUKE. 257 

willingly to them, to shew her respect for the law, and that the 
infant Jesus was born under it for our sake. The poverty of 
Joseph and Mary may be gathered from the fact, that, they did 
not offer the usual sacrifice of the lamb, but the offering which 
the poor were allowed to make — " a pair of turtle-doves or two 
young pigeons." Mary's presentation of Christ in the temple 
speaks loudly to mothers, — how can they endure the thought of 
giving birth to a child, which shall prove the prey of Satan ? 
Little do parents consider how much, under God, the salvation 
of their children depends on them. They are invited to dedi- 
cate their offspring to God at the solemn sacrament of baptism, 
which has taken the place of circumcision, and afterwards 
to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
with the assurance of a divine blessing on their efforts. Let 
them continue in prayer, and in due time they shall reap if they 
faint not. 

A remarkable circumstance occurred, at the time of our 
Lord's presentation in the temple. Among those who were 
living in expectation of the Saviour, and who viewed his advent 
"as a consolation to Israel," * was an aged believer, named 
Simeon. To him the Lord had promised, that he should not 
die before he had seen the Messiah ; and now he was warned 
by an express revelation, to enter the temple at that moment 
when Mary was presenting Jesus before the Lord. On seeing 
Him, we are told, that he took the babe in his arms, and blessed 
God, saying: — "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salva- 
tion." He saw Him, in whom all the prophecies met ; and 
though he did not five to see their fuller accomplishment, as de- 
veloped by the life and death of Jesus, yet did he, by faith, 
consider them as already accomplished, since He was born, whd 
should complete them. And now, having seen his Saviour, he 
was ready to die in peace. 

And what can give us solid comfort in a dying hour, but that 
which was the joy of Simeon? The great preparation for 
heaven, is to embrace Christ in the arms of faith. He is the 
Lamb of God, whose blood cleanseth from all sin, and we, by 
faith, must apply to that blood for our individual safety, and 
claim that perfect obedience which alone can place us in a justified 
state before God. Without the knowledge of Christ in this way, 

* Lightfoot has proved that it was usual among the Jews to swear by " the 
consolation of Israel " — meaning the Messiah. See his citation from the Talmud, 
vol. i. in loco. 

VOL. I. S 



258 S. LUKE. [chap. ti. 21—52. 

no man can behold the face of God in peace. But do you ask, 
how is this faith to be attained ? St. Paul answers, " Faith is 
the gift of God." * Ask, then, for this invaluable gift ; ask it 
in prayer, and while you pray, remember that your salvation 
depends on your receiving it. 

After Simeon had uttered this song, in praise of the infant 
Messiah, he blessed both Joseph and Mary, and then spoke pro- 
phetically of the effect which his Gospel would produce upon 
the hearts of men, saying, that he was " set for the fall and 
rising again of many in Israel," which means that some should 
be converted by that Gospel, while others would be rendered 
more callous by it.f Alas ! what a painful reflection is it, that 
any should make shipwreck of their souls upon that rock, which 
was placed to be the foundation of their hopes ; and yet we see 
this occur daily. We see persons who are so opposed to the 
preaching of the Gospel, that their anger is excited by it, and 
thus their sin and ruin are aggravated by the revelation of Jesus 
Christ : they extract poison for themselves out of the balm of 
Gilead; and enhance their condemnation, by refusing an entrance 
into their hearts to that Saviour who is the consolation of Israel. 
How has the preaching of the Gospel affected you ? Have you 
been quickened by the Spirit's apphcation of the word of truth, 
or have you been made more callous in the midst of appointed 
ordinances ? Each sermon you hear, or each chapter of the 
Bible you read, must produce one or other of these effects. God 
grant that the word of truth may always touch you to the quick, 
and that as God's word cannot bend to meet your natural desires, 
your heart may be inchned to a conformity with it. 

The Lord was pleased to confirm Simeon's testimony to Christ, 
by that of Anna, a prophetess ; and after this, the Spirit of 
God has recorded nothing of the Saviour's early Hfe, except ihat 
recorded in thiG chapter. At the age of twelve he conversed 
with the doctors in the temple, and delayed behind his parents, 
in this occupation, after they had left the temple. From this 
period until the age of thirty, he remained in obscurity at 
Nazareth. This concealment may appear mysterious to us, but 
all was arranged by infinite wisdom. It might have been in 
imitation of the Levitical priesthood — who did not enter on their 
office until thirty J — or rather, because there was an appointed 
season of subjection to his reputed parents. Jesus by becoming 
our surety, had engaged himself to fulfil all the relative duties 

* See Eph ii. 8. t 2 Cor. ii. 1-5, 16. t See Numb. iv. 3, 20. 



ciiAr. III.] S. LUKE. 2.59 

of the law — and this he accomphshed at Nazareth by subjection 
to Mary and Joseph — as at other times he fulfilled all the pre- 
scribed duties of the law. 

The example of Christ ought to be often placed before chil- 
dren. If he, the Lord of heaven and earth, thus condescended 
to subjection to his own creatures, what should they do who are 
bound by every obligation to honour their earthly parents ? — 
absolute obedience is their plain duty, except where it cjanflicts 
with their higher duty to God, which is not often the case. 
Where rebelKon and self-will reign, it is a proof that children 
have not been well disciplined in the ways of God, after the ex- 
ample of Christ. Even in the temple, Christ has given all of 
us, and especially the young, an example of docility. He was 
not disputing, as is often supposed, but " hearing the doctors 
and asking them questions " — he was himself in the position of 
the learner, and thus instructed us that we should be willing to 
learn — " swift to hear, slow to speak." Nor should we pass 
over the answer of Jesus to his parents, on their finding him in 
the temple : " Wist ye not that I must be about my Father s 
business ? " This will furnish us with evidence on an important 
point, namely, whether we are the children of God or not. 
Let each of us ask — in whose business am I engaged ? Whose 
work am I doing ? Am I the servant of Christ ? Is the ad- 
vancement of religion in my own soul, and in the souls of others, 
the chief object of my life? If .not, you are not a child of 
God, for it is meat and drink to his children, to be about their 
Father's business. May we, hke Mary, " keep all these sayings, 
and ponder them in our hearts." 

Note on v. 35. — " A sword shall pierce through thine own soul also." Epiphanius 
thinks this intimates that the Virgin Mary would in due time die as a martyr. 
Augustine and Bede refer it, with more truth, to Mary's sorrow at the time 
of our Lord's crucifixion. 



CHAP. III. 



THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST HE WARNS THE MULTITUDE TO AVOID 

FORMALITY TRUE REPENTANCE DESCRIBED. 

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being 
governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother 
Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias 
the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the 
word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And 
he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of re- 
S 2 



260 S. LUKE. [chap. hi. 

pentance for the remission of sins ; As it is written in tlie book of the 
words of Esaias the prophet, saying. The voice of one crying in the wil- 
derness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every 
valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low ; 
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made 
smooth ; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the 
multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers ! 
who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come 1 Bring forth, there- 
fore, fruits worthy of repentance ; and begin not to say within yourselves. 
We have Abraham to our father : for I say unto you, That God is able of 
these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is 
laid unto the root of the trees : every tree, therefore, which bringeth not 
forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people 
asked him, saying. What shall we do then 1 He answereth and saith unto 
them. He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none ; and 
he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be 
baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do 1 And he said 
unto them. Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the 
soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying. And what shall we do ? And 
he said unto them. Do violence to no man, neither accuse a7iy falsely ; and 
be content with your wages. And as the people were in expectation, and 
all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not ; 
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water ; but 
one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of wdiose shoes I am not worthy to 
unloose : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire : Whose 
fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather 
the wheat into his garner ; but the chaff" he will burn with fire unquench- 
able. And many other things, in his exhortation, preached he unto the 
people. But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his 
brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added 
yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. Now when all the 
people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and 
praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a 
bodily shape like a dove upon him ; and a voice came from heaven, which 
said. Thou art my beloved Son ; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus 
himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the 
son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Matthat, 
which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son 
of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, Which was the son of Mattathias, 
which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the 
son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, Which was the son of Maath, 
which was the son of jMattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was 
the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, Wliich was the son of Jo- 
hanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which 
was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, Which was the son of 
Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which 
was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, Which was the son of 
Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was 
the son of Matthat, which was the son of Le\a, Which was the son of Simeon, 
which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the 
son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, Wliich was the son of Melea, 
which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was 
the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, Which was the son of 
Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was 



I iiAP. III.] S. LUKE. 2G1 

the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naason, Which was the son of 
Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which 
was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, WQiich w^as the son of 
Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which 
was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, Which was the son of 
Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which 
was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, Which was the son of 
Cainan, which was the son of Ai-phaxad, which was the son of Sem, which 
was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, TMiich was the son of 
Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which 
was the son of jNIaleleel, which was the son of Cainan, Which was the son 
of Enos, whicli was the son of Seth, which was the son of xVdam, which 
was the son of God. 

Having left the youthful Messiah in retirement, and in subjec- 
tion to his reputed parents, St. Luke proceeds in his narrative, 
to the history of John the Baptist. He, too, had passed the 
early part of his hfe in obscurity, and in preparation for that 
important office which he was to fill ; and then, about his 
thirtieth year, he came forth to discharge his public ministry. 
This was in fulfilment of a prophecy, uttered above seven hun- 
dred years before by the prophet Isaiah, who spoke of John, as 
a " voice cryina- in the wilderness," and preparing the way of 
the Lord ; * and then described the effect which the Gospel 
would produce, and which is in exact accordance with what spi- 
ritually takes place, when a person is brought under its influ- 
ence. The valleys are filled, or the meek and lowly are en- 
riched with grace : the mountams and hills are made low — the 
proud are humbled ; the crooked ways are made straight — the 
perverse hearts of men are directed to embrace the Gospel, and 
live in obedience to it : the rough ways are made smooth — all 
difficulties are removed, and the way to heaven is made plain 
by the Gospel of Jesus. Let us recollect, that such are the 
effects of the Gospel, and if it has not lowered our pride, cor- 
rected our ungodly propensities, and cleared away the difficul- 
ties which opposed our progress, we are not under its saving 
influence. 

While John was boldly preaching the doctrine of repentance, 
there came many who expressed a desire for his baptism ; but 
apprehending that the majority of them were taking up a pro- 
fession of religion upon light and erroneous grounds, he cau- 
tioned them upon two important points — first, the vanity of 
trusting to a mere external profession — " Begin not to say with- 
in yourselves, we have Abraham to our father." Because men 

* Isaiah xl. o, 4. 



2C2 S. LUKE. [chap. hi. 

have been born of professing Christian parents, and have been 
educated in a Christian land, they take for granted that they 
are real Christians, Alas ! how many such will be sorely disap- 
pointed when Christ, whose name they profess, shall disown 
them at the last day. The sentence will be, — " Depart from 
me, all ye that work iniquity." * Let the workers of iniquity be- 
long to the purest Church on earth, it will not screen them in 
the least from the wrath of the great Judge. 

The second point which John pressed upon these persons was, 
the necessity of their renouncing those sins to which they were 
addicted — as an evidence of the reality of their faith. " Bring 
forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance." He then points 
out to several, those things which needed correction in their 
lives, and which could not be retained, if they were influenced 
by religion. Let us not mistake this matter : John did not 
direct the people to the offices of charity : or the publicans, to 
the observance of honesty ; or the soldiers, to a disposition of 
peacefulness and contentment, in order that they might obtain 
repentance ; but, in answer to their question, " what shall we 
do ? " (that is, what fruit shall we bring forth as evidence of our 
sincerity,) he points to those things wherein their conduct was 
faulty, and shows that if their repentance was genuine, those 
fruits of reformation would undoubtedly follow. Repentance is 
a change of heart — from ignorance to knowledge — from sin to 
holiness — from the world to God — effected in us by the power 
of the Holy Spirit. It is the gift of God, and Jesus is exalted to 
bestow it.t It is the same as that saving change of heart, 
which our Lord calls, the being " born again." It is salvation 
begun. It is not the partial lopping off of some irregularities 
in the hfe, but it is the laying of the axe to the root of all known 
sin, so that whatever is opposed to the will of God, falls to the 
ground, and whatsoever is agreeable to his will, springs up ; and 
thus the man who has received the gift of repentance is, altoge- 
ther, "anew creature." The baptism of John was merely an 
external ceremony, to denote the inward influence which the 
Spirit of Christ could, and would produce, in the hearts of those 
who were partakers of it. As in baptism, the water washes away 
the filth of the flesh, so the Holy Spirit, which was represented 
by the water, washes away the pollutions of the soul. In this 
way the Holy Spirit was, long before, promised to the church ; 
" I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean ; 

* Matt. vii. 22, 28. t Acts v. 31. 



CHAP. III.] S. LUKE. 263 

from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse 
you." * 

We are denominated Christians, from our professing-, in bap- 
tism, to become the followers of Christ : but the mere rite of 
baptism, however excellent, and necessary as an appointed sacra- 
ment of God, can never constitute us true Christians. It can 
of itself, no more raise a dead soul to life, than the laying of 
Elisha's staff upon the face of the dead child, could re-animate 
its breathless corpse. f We must hkewise have the inward 
sprinkling of the Spirit, who purifies the heart, and leaves us 
not with a barren and fruitless profession. Let each of us ask, 
have I been thus baptized with the Holy Ghost ? Have the 
outward irregularities of my life been corrected, and the inward, 
unholy and unclean propensities of my heart, been checked ? 
Do I hate sin, and do I pray for the destruction of its power 
within me ? Do I love holiness, and do 1 pray for a growing 
conformity to the holy image of God ? If these questions can- 
not be satisfactorily answered, we have every reason to believe 
that our very baptism increases our condemnation. The heirs 
of glory must all undergo this refining process. Heaven is a 
holy place, and sin has corrupted the heart of man. You must, 
therefore, be made holy, before you can enjoy heaven, and the 
Holy Spirit is the appointed agent to prepare the heart for 
glory. Pray, therefore, for the Holy Spirit to effect this prepa- 
ratory change in your heart. Be encouraged to do so, for our 
Lord himself has said — " If ye then, being evil, know how to 
give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your 
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him."| 

The chapter concludes with an account of John's imprison- 
ment — of our Lord's entrance on his public ministry, at the age 
of thirty years — and with a statement of his pedigree, in order 
to show that he was lineally descended from Abraham, David, 
and all those persons from whom the promised Messiah was to 
come, according to his human nature. How glorious is God's 
faithfulness ! — though ages pass away, his word remains, and all 
his promises must be fulfilled. 

* Ezek. xxxvi. 25. f See 2 Kings iv. 29—31. J Luke xi. 13- 



•264 S, LUKE. [chap. iv. 1— 15. 



CHAP. IV. 1—15. 



CHRIST IS TEMPTED BY SATAN HIS MODES OF TEMPTATION EXPLAINED. 

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led 
by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. 
And in those days he did eat nothing : and when they were ended, he 
afterward hungred. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of 
God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered 
him, saying. It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by 
every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, 
showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 
And the devil said unto him, AH this power will I give thee, and the glory 
of them : for that is delivered unto me ; and to whomsoever I will I give 
it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus 
answered and said unto him. Get thee behind me, Satan : for it is written. 
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the tem- 
ple, and said unto him. If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down 
from hence : For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, 
to keep thee : And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time 
thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him. 
It is said. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil 
had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And 
Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee : and there went out 
a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their 
synagogues, being glorified of all. 

The victory which our blessed Lord obtained over Satan, at the 
time of his temptation in the wilderness, is calculated to afford 
continual comfort to the people of God in their spiritual con- 
flicts ; for He who conquered Satan, fights for them, and ena- 
bles them to prevail. It may justly fill us with wonder, to 
behold the Son of God suffering himself to be assaulted by the 
prince of darkness. No doubt the malignity of Satan was 
excited to the highest pitch, when he saw the Son of God 
clothed in human nature, and now made manifest to bruise the 
serpent's head. Thus a pecuhar honour was conferred on man, 
for not only was the Lord gracious to him, whilst the fallen 
angels were reserved in chains for the judgment of the great 
day ; but the victory over Satan was to be effected by human 
nature taken into union with the godhead, in the second person 
of the Trinity. * Let us remember that the members of Christ 

* " Behold he is amon;> the wrestlers, wlio as God awards the prizes. He is 
among the ci owned, who crowns the heads of the saints." — Ci/ril. 



CHAP. IV. 1—15.] S. LUKE. 265 

must expect to be attacked by the same adversary, for Satan, 
as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour," 
and therefore suits his temptations to our particular state. Are 
we poor ? — he tempts us to repine, and to envy. Are we rich ? 
he tempts us to waste our Lord's property, and to squander on 
ourselves, what was lent for his service. And where shall we 
flee for help ? it is very manifest that we have no strength of 
our own to resist. We must look to the conquering Saviour. 
He can afford shelter from the attacks of the adversary, for he 
has proved himself to be his superior. Oh ! that we hated more 
deeply the yoke of Satan's bondage : then should we rejoice in 
the Saviour's conquest ; we should ask him to conquer the 
power of sin within us, and to establish there his kingdom of 
" righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

In considering our Lord's temptation, we may observe, that 
three attempts were made to put him off his guard, and to lead 
him into sin. The attack was made in the wilderness, where 
our Lord had gone for retirement and prayer, and Satan is often 
most busy in the moments of retirement, when we least expect 
his assaults — perhaps when we are seeking God in prayer. As 
our Lord had been fasting for forty days, Satan suggests the 
propriety of his performing a miracle to satisfy his wants. But 
this would have implied a distrust in the promise of God, who 
was pledged to supply the wants of his people ; he refused, 
therefore, to adopt this method of relief. And shall the Chris- 
tian doubt the promises of God, or shall he suspect him of neg- 
lect and forgetfulness ? far be this from him — divine help may 
be delayed, but it will be sure in the end. 

In the temptation of our first parents, the devil represented 
to them the forbidden fruit — first, as " good for food," and then, 
as " pleasant to the eyes ; " and they were overpowered by both 
these charms. Here, again, Satan goes over the same ground ; 
he first tempted Christ to turn stones into bread, which would 
be " good for food," and then showed him " the kingdoms of 
the world and the glory of them," which were " pleasant to the 
eyes : " but in both these efforts Satan failed. In the devil's 
promise of the kingdoms of this world to Christ, there are three 
insolent lies- — against the sovereignty, justice, and providence of 
God. But even if he had them at command, they would have 
formed no allurement to Christ, whose kingdom was not of this 
worjd. Alas ! what numbers do we see falling down to worship 
Satan for the sake of worldly gain? He is often permitted to 
make use of this world's goods, and with such glittering baits, he 



266 S. LUKE. [chap. iv. 1—15. 

deceives men to their destruction. Could any person obtain 
all that Satan promised to bestow — could he possess the whole 
world, and the sure enjoyment of all its pleasures during a thou- 
sand years, as his recompense for obeying Satan and neglecting 
Christ, he would, through the countless ages of eternity, curse 
his own folly in making so bad a bargain. Yet, millions lose 
their souls for the sake of the most trivial gain, or the most 
worthless indulgence — nay, from mere sloth and negligence ; for 
whatever the object be for which men refuse or forsake Christ, 
that is the price for which Satan purchases their souls : and 
when they accept the price to neglect Christ, they do, in fact, 
fall into his wiles. Shall we believe the soothing lies of that 
cruel murderer of souls, or shall we listen to the voice of Jesus, 
warning us of his devices, and urging us to choose that better 
portion which he freely offers — namely, pardon, holiness, and 
eternal glory ? May the Lord direct our hearts to make a 
happy choice on this momentous subject ! 

The third assault which Satan made upon our Lord, was, by 
urging him to throw himself down from one of the highest parts 
of the temple of Jerusalem ; and to enforce compliance, he not 
only insinuated that this public exhibition of his power, so supe- 
rior to that of nature, would prove him to be the Son of 
God ; but as our Lord had quoted Scripture, in warding off his 
attacks, he thinks to turn this weapon against him, and there- 
fore rudely forces a passage of Holy Writ from its proper mean- 
ing, to meet his purpose, saying : — " It is written, he shall 
give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee, and in their 
hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy 
foot against a stone." Here was plausible reasoning ; but it 
was false, and our Lord detected it. The passage is to be found 
in the 91st Psalm, but with this addition: — He shall "keep 
thee in all thy ways" These words were omitted by Satan, 
who loves to garble Scripture ; he knew that an ostentatious 
casting of himself from this battlement, was none of the ways 
marked out for Christ, (or for any believer,) in which he might 
depend on divine protection. Christ, therefore, confuted him 
by a reply from Scripture : " Thou shalt not tempt the Lord 
thy God." 

We may learn much from the conduct of our Lord, on this 
occasion. God is not bound by any promise to comply with our 
vain desires, or to protect us where duty does not call us. , If 
wc are placed in danger while acting in obedience to the word 
of God, we may expect protection ; but how many do we see 



cuAF. IV. lG-44.] S. LUKE. 267 

voluntarily plunging themselves into scenes of vanity and dissi- 
pation, or of vice and wickedness, who yet foohshly seem to ex- 
pect to come out uninjured ! Let us, therefore, never select for 
ourselves those situations or circumstances which tend to divert 
the heart from God. Temptations we must expect, but we 
must not run into them — when assaulted by any, let us imme- 
diately fly to our merciful High Priest, " who was in all points 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin," and who is able and 
willing to succour them that are tempted. 

Note.— What St. Luke gives as the last temptation, (v. 9.) St. Matthew gives as 
the second ; it is evident from the words, " Get thee hence, Satan," that the 
arrano-ement of the latter is the correct one. Matt. iv. 10. 



CHAP. IV. 16—44. 

JESUS IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF NAZARETH EXPOUNDS THE SCRIPTURES MANY 

OFFENDED AT HIS WORDS. 

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up : and, as his custom 
was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath- day, and stood up for to 
read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. 
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was writ- 
ten. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to 
preach the gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, 
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, 
to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of 
the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, 
and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were 
fastened on him. And he began to say unto them. This day is this scrip- 
ture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the 
gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said. Is not 
this Joseph's son? And he said imto them. Ye will surely say unto me 
this proverb. Physician, heal thyself : whatsoever we have heard done in 
Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said. Verily I say unto 
you. No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, 
many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was 
shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all 
the land ; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city 
of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in 
Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet ; and none of them was cleansed, 
sa\-ing Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they 
heard these things, were filled with wrath. And rose up and thrust him 
out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city 
was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing 
through the midst of them went his way. And came down to Capernaum, 
a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were 
astonished at his doctrine : for his word was with power. And in the 
synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and 



268 S.LUKE. [chap, i v. 16— 44. 

cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do 
with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy us ? I know 
thee who thou art ; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, 
saying, Hold thy peace and come out of him. And when the devil had 
thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And 
they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, "What a word 
is this ! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, 
and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the 
country round about. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered 
into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great 
fever ; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and re- 
buked the fever ; and it left her : and immediately she arose and ministered 
unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick 
with divers diseases brought them unto him ; and he laid his hands on 
every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, 
crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he, rebu- 
king them, suffered them not to speak : for they knew that he was Christ. 
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place : and the 
people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should 
not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the king- 
dom of God to other cities also : for therefore am I sent. And he preached 
in the synagogues of Galilee. 

Our blessed Lord, after he had entered upon his ministry, em- 
ployed every day in the execution of his work ; but he availed 
himself especially of the opportunity which the Sabbath afford- 
ed him, to instruct the people. At Nazareth, where he had 
been brought up, " he went into the synagogue, as his custom 
was," — an expression much to be noted, because it shows the 
honour which Christ put on the ordinances of his Father's house 
— though often administered by unfit instruments. Having 
been called upon to read the portion of scripture appointed for 
the day, he stood up and read a passage from the prophet Isaiah, 
and then sat down to expound it. His exposition, or comment, 
is not given us ; but the substance of it is set before us, in few 
but comprehensive words. The passage is to be found in the 6 1st 
chapter of Isaiah, and contains a plain description of the office 
of the Messiah.* While the people anxiously hstened to our 
Lord, he told them that the prophecy was then fulfilled in 
himself. The completion of this prophecy is calculated to afford 
strong consolation to us, as it assures us that that Saviour has 
come who holds out pardon to the guilty, and peace to the bro- 
ken-hearted. But let us ask ourselves, are we the poor of whom 
the prophet speaks ? poor in a spiritual sense, from a conviction 
of our guilty state ? have we been distressed in mind, not 
merely from worldly causes, but from a sense of our sinfulness ? 

* See Isaiah Ixi. 1. 



CHAP. IV. 10-44.J S.LUKE. 269 

or are we apprehensive tliat we are still detained in that captive 
state in which Satan holds all by nature ? Let us rejoice that 
there is a Saviour who can deliver us from the bands of our sins, 
aad break those chains in which we are held. 

While Jesus commented upon these comforting words, the 
people attentively hstened. So far they excelled many outward 
worshippers of the present day, who, instead of listening to the 
minister's exposition of God's word, often allow their worldly 
matters to occupy their thoughts, or sink into careless indiffer- 
ence. These people listened to our Lord's sermon, and " won- 
dered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." 
Alas ! the very same truths delivered amongst ourselves, are 
heard with indifference. The work and office of Christ are 
often explained, and all the wonders of redeeming love are 
opened to our view, and yet no admiration is excited ; yea, the 
talents of the speaker may be admired, while the subject on 
which he speaks is overlooked. But would this be the case if 
men felt their need of his salvation ? No, surely, they would 
be filled with wonder at the offer of peace and pardon from an 
offended God. 

Still, though these people in the synagogue listened to our 
Lord's sermon, and wondered at it, yet it made no impression 
upon them. Their prejudices against his lowly birth prevailed, 
and they would not obey him. How many are there of this 
character, who hear the gospel, and to a certain degree approve 
it, while yet they are not effectually changed by it. They are 
still under the influence of prejudice and passion, and sit in 
judgment on their ministers' words, instead of yielding obedience 
to their directions. What is gratifying to their feelings they 
will receive, but whatever tends to the mortifying of their pride, 
or the subduing of their besetting sins, they will not endure. 
May the example before us, put us on our guard ! This day 
is the Scripture fulfilled in our ears, as truly as in the day when 
Jesus read them in the synagogue. Jesus is still the anointed 
Saviour : still does he retain and execute the commission given 
him by the Father : still does he say to the oppressed — Go free. 
One thing more deserves attention in the quotation here given 
from Isaiah. The Lord Jesus broke off in the middle of a 
verse — thereby showing that a part only of the prophet's word 
was fulfilled — those which refer to " the day of vengeance," have 
in view not the first, but the second coming of the Messiah, 
when he shall cast his enemies into the wine-press of his wrath.* 

* Isaiah Ixiii. 1—3. 



270 S. LUKE. [ciiAP. IV. 10—4^. 

But worse than indifferent was the conduct of the Nazarenes. 
Our Lord had justified himself for refusing the same display of 
miracles amongst them, as he had exhibited elsewhere, by quot- 
ing the example of two of the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, who 
dispensed their favours amongst strangers, rather than among 
their own countrymen, and that, no doubt by divine direction.* 
And he argued that if they acted thus, without being called to 
account for their conduct, why should not He be allowed to 
exercise his discretion, in selecting appropriate places for the 
display of his power? This, however, so enraged the Nazarenes, 
that they proceeded to acts of violence, and would have cast 
him from the hill on which their city was built, had he not with- 
drawn himself from their reach. 

There is no subject at present which more excites the anger 
of the world, than this very one, viz. the free grace and sove- 
reignty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Men are inchned to tie dovv^n 
the Saviour, by laws of their own enacting, and then speak of 
him as being unjust, if he does not act as they think right. 
But, be it known to us all, that the Lord Jesus will manifest 
the glory of his grace upon whomsoever He pleases, without 
calling man into his councils, or subjecting his conduct to their 
approval. All that Christ does, is in perfect justice. His acts 
will hereafter be justified : but we have no more reason to ask 
him, why he calls one person by his grace, and does not call 
another, than the Nazarenes had, for his not performing the 
same miracles among them, as he had done at other places. 

All the miracles recorded in this chapter — the healing of the 
man possessed with a devil — the cure of Simon's wife's mother, 
and that of the numerous sick and diseased who came for relief, 
are intended to show the willingness of Christ to heal the disease 
of our souls ; and if we are not cured, it will be owing to our 
own unwillingness to receive it on his terms. Let us pray that 
God would enable us thankfully to accept the invitation of the 
Gospel. 

* 1 Kings xvii 9—16. 2 Kings v. 14. 



CHAP. V. 1—1(5.1 S. LUKE. 271 



CHAP. V. 1—16. 



THE PEOPLE PRESS UPON CHRIST TO HEAR HIM MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF 

FISHES — PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN FOLLOW CHRIST A LEPER CLEANSED. 

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upou him to hear the word 
of God, he stood by the lake of Geunesaret, And saw two ships standing 
by the lake : but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing 
their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and 
prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat 
down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left 
speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down 
your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said mito him. Master, we 
have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing : nevertheless at thy 
word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed 
a great multitude of fishes : and their net brake. And they beckoned unto 
their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and 
help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began 
to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' s knees, saying. 
Depart from me ; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, 
and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had 
taken : And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were 
partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not : from hence- 
forth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to 
land, they forsook all, and followed him. And it came to pass, when he 
was in a certain city, behold, a man full of leprosy ; who seeing Jesus, fell 
on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make 
me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, sa\^ng, I will ; 
be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he 
charged him to tell no man : but go and shew thyself to the priest, and 
offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony 
unto them. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him : and 
great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their 
infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wdlderness, and prayed. 

It is curious to observe the different reception which our Lord 
met with at the various places which he visited in the course of 
his ministry. At one time the people were ready to stone him, 
at another, they begged him to remain with them : again, they 
were anxious to " cast him down headlong " from the top of a 
hill ; and now we read of their " pressing upon him to hear the 
word of God." Just so is it in the present day. The Gospel 
of Christ is abused by some, and welcomed by others. May 
we be amongst the number of those who feel their need of the 
remedy which it declares. But let us not imagine that a formal 
attendance at the house of God, will be considered as " pressing 
to hear the word of God." We must o-o with a sense of want 



272 S. LUKE. [chap. V. 1—1(5 

and ignorance, and with a longing desire for a supply of spiritual 
instruction. We must go, not so much to hear what the preachei' 
says, but rather what God declares through him ; and if we des- 
pise or neglect his warning, spoken agreeably to the word of 
God, it is the same as if we rejected the word of God himself. 

As the people were anxious for instruction, our Lord chose a 
situation from which he might more conveniently address them. 
He went into a fishing boat, belonging to Simon Peter, and 
" taught the people out of the ship." None who seek instruc- 
tion from the Saviour, shall ever be disappointed. After thus 
preaching from the boat, our Lord expressed a wish that Peter 
should put out to sea, and let down his nets for a draught. 
Peter pleads as his apology, that he had spent the whole night 
in fruitless toil, and would seem at first, to consider our Lord's 
proposal as a useless experiment. He soon, however, corrects 
himself, and says, " Nevertheless, at thy word I will let down 
the net." The consequence was, that a miraculous number of 
fishes was enclosed ; so much so, that Peter was obhged to call 
for the assistance of his partners, and two ships were filled with 
the produce of their draught. 

The whole of this passage is a fit picture of our present state 
— the ship is an emblem of the church, where Christ sits to 
direct and preserve all. The fishermen are God's duly autho- 
rized ministers — their ordination emboldens them to cast out the 
Gospel net, and sooner or later, success will attend the effort. 
To such, the conduct of Peter on this occasion speaks most for- 
cibly. They are entrusted with the Gospel net ; but how often 
does it happen, that they grow weary with their work, when 
they do not find it prospering as much as they expect. When 
the word of God urges them to preach the Gospel, and says to 
them, in the words of our Lord — " Let down your nets for a 
draught " — they are often inclined to answer, ' ' we have toiled 
all the night, and have taken nothing." But shall the fisher- 
man toil and labour for " the meat which perisheth," while the 
minister of the Gospel goes about his work with indifference ? 
Shall the one expose himself to hardship, privation, and danger, 
merely to earn his livelihood, and shall the other live in self- 
indulgence and ease, while his work is to win souls to Christ, 
and to rescue them from the hands of Satan ? Oh ! that there 
were more fishermen in the ship, who would labour in faith, and 
not yield to the difficulties that encompass them. The duty of 
labour belongs to the minister, the result is in the hands of 
God, and though he may have toiled long and taken nothing. 



CHAP. V. 1— !().] S. LUKE, 27:3 

yet let him not fail to cast the net on every opportunity, and 
like Peter, he may have to rejoice most, when he least expects it. 

On seeing this miracle, Peter was seized with fear, and falling- 
at Jesus' knees, he said, " Depart from me, for I am a sinful 
man, O Lord," Here was great sincerity, in that he felt un- 
worthy to remain in the presence of the Lord Jesus, and there- 
fore, in an attitude of humility, he threw himself at his feet. 
Well for us if we are found in this attitude every day, not merely 
saying prayers, but praying. There may have been a mixture 
of ignorance in his prayer, " Depart from me, fori am a sinful 
man." We cannot suppose that he wished Christ to remove 
from him and desert him ; but in the feeling of his sinfulness 
and Christ's holiness, he felt his presence almost too much 
for him. Had he then fully known Christ's grace to perishing 
sinners, he w^ould have united confidence to humility — the Lord 
deals with us after his tender mercy, and therefore we need not 
ask him to " depart," but rather seek his face and live. 

Peter, James, and John, were so struck by this miracle, that 
on reaching the shore, they left their all and followed Jesus, in 
order that they might become fishers of men. This was the 
more remarkable, as their trade had never before flourished so 
well — they had two boats full of fish : but the service of Christ 
had more attraction than the money which their fish would sell 
for, and they left all for his sake. We are not all required to 
devote ourselves to the work of the ministry as these persons 
were, but we are required to forsake every thing which in the 
slightest degree interferes with our serving Christ faithfully, in 
that station of life in which we are placed. 

The cure of the leprous man affords us valuable instruction. 
The leprosy was a disease which marked the anger of God, and 
which obliged the person who was afflicted with it, to be sepa- 
rated from the rest of the congregation ; and it was a disease 
which God alone could cure. We all by nature have hearts 
which are afflicted with the leprosy of sin — it excludes us from 
enjoying the company of God's people here, and, unless removed, 
will exclude us from the society of the saints in glory. God 
alone can cure the malady of sin. Not all our efforts will avail 
to atone for a single transgression. The blood of Christ alone 
can cleanse us. The poor man who was diseased, came in hum- 
ble faith to Jesus, being certain of his power, but doubtful of 
his inclination ; he says, " Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make 
me clean ; " then Jesus immediately answers — " I will, be thou 
clean," and he was instantly restored to health. You see then 

VOL, I. T 



274 S. LUKE. [chap. v. 17—39. 

that Jesus is as willing as he is able to remove your sin. But 
are you willing to be healed ? Alas ! many love their sins : 
they would like to be saved at the last, if they might enjoy the 
world now : but are you willing to renounce the pomps and 
vanities of this evil world — to be delivered from the love of sin, 
and to be saved by Christ upon his own terms ? If not, you 
may soon in hell lift up your eyes in torments. If you are ever 
saved, you must submit to be made holy. If you really desire 
holiness, you should hear for your comfort what Jesus says — 
" I will, be thou clean." Upon the warrant of the cure which 
he performed, you may go and ask him to heal you. 



CHAP. V. 17—39. 

CHRIST HEALETH ONE SICK OF THE PALSY THE CALL OF MATTHEW CHRIST 

THE GOOD PHYSICIAN WHY HIS DISCIPLES DID NOT THEN FAST. 

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were 
Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every 
town of GaHlee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem : and the power of the Lord 
was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man 
which was taken with a palsy : and they sought means to bring him in, 
and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what tvay 
they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the 
housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the 
midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, 
thy sins are forgiven thee. And the Scribes and the Pharisees began to 
reason, saying. Who is this which speaketh blasphemies ? Who can for- 
give sins, but God alone ? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he 
answering said unto them, Wliat reason ye in your hearts 1 Whether is 
easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee ; or to say. Rise up and walk ? 
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to for- 
give sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee. Arise, and 
take up thy couch, and go unto thine house. And immediately he rose up 
before them, and took vip that whereon he lay, and departed to his own 
house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, 
and were filled with fear, saying. We have seen strange things to-day. 
And after these things he went forth, and saw a PubHcan, named Levi, 
sitting at the receipt of custom : and he said unto him. Follow me. And 
he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Led made him a great feast 
in his own house : and there was a great company of Publicans and of 
others that sat down with them. But their Scribes and Pharisees mur- 
mured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with Publicans 
and sinners .'' And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole 
need not a physician ; but they that are sick. I came not to call the right- 
eous, but sinners to repentance. And they said unto him. Why do the 
disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of 
the Pharisees ; but thine eat and drink ? And he said unto them. Can 
ye make the children of the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is 



CHAP. V. 17—39.] S. LUKE. 275 

with them ? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken 
away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. And he spake 
also a parable unto them ; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon 
an old ; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that 
was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth 
new wine into old bottles ; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be 
spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new 
bottles ; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine 
straightway desireth new : for he saith. The old is better. 

The first verse of this portion of Scripture mentions th*at the 
power of the Lord was present to heal those Scribes and Pha- 
risees who came out of every town to see the Lord Jesus. Some 
of them seemed to have experienced his gracious relief, but the 
end of the chapter informs us, that for the most part, they 
cavilled against his mercy to sinners ; most likely they came 
together in this spirit, and so hardened their hearts against his 
truth. Is this your case, or do you wish to be taught by his 
Spirit ? Do you wish to be a real Christian, regardless of what 
the world may think of you ? Are you willing to learn and to 
follow the way of eternal life, though Scribes and Pharisees sit 
by and mock you ? Go to Jesus in prayer ; learn from him 
out of his holy word, and then shall you experience the power 
of his grace to the healing of your souls. 

What strong encouragement does every portion of Scripture 
aiford to those who are " seeking the Lord, if haply they may 
find him : " and not only are individuals encouraged to pray for 
themselves, but for their friends also. We here read of a poor 
palsied creature, who was carried by his friends to the house 
where Jesus was, and M^hen they could not enter by reason of 
the crowd, they proved their anxiety for his cure, by stripping 
part of the roof of the house, and letting him down into the 
presence of Jesus.* Nothing is told us of the man's faith in 
the power of Christ, or of his wish to make trial of it; the whole 
seems to have been the act of his friends^ and we are told that 
Jesus, seeing their faith, healed him. Do you know the Sa- 
viour's power in the pardon of your sins, and have you friends 
who care for none of these things ? Carry them in the arms of 
faith, and lay them in prayer before the Saviour : plead before 
him his own act in the case of the friends of the palsied person, 
and ask him to do now for you, as he then did for them. 

The love and condescension of Christ are strikingly displayed 

* In Shaw's travels we have a full accoiint of the eastern house, which shews 
how the man might be let down from the roof into the middle court. See Home's 
Introduction. Vol. iii. p. 418. 

T 2 



276 S. LUKE. [chap. v. 17—39. 

in several events which this chapter records. We hear of his 
calhng Levi, or Matthew, to be one of his disciples, and after- 
wards to be an apostle and an evangelist. This was remark- 
able, because his trade was not only of the lowest kind, but such 
as made him odious to the Jews, for he assisted the Roman 
government in the collection of the public taxes. But the Lord 
judgeth not as man judgeth. He can form the most useful in- 
struments for his work, out of the most unpromising materials. 
He called Levi, as he sat " at the receipt of custom," or, in 
other words, as he satin his office, discharging the duties of his 
lucrative employment. Humanly speaking, it was not likely 
that he would leave his worldly concerns, and, at once, obey the 
call ; but the Saviour who called, gave him the inclination, and 
therefore the power to obey. His conduct is recorded as an 
example for us. Although we may not be called to the ministry 
as he was, yet the Gospel demands of us, with all authority, that 
we should follow the Lord Jesus with earnestness and decision. 

Levi acted promptly, " he conferred not with flesh and 
blood," but obeyed without hesitation or delay. So should we : 
the call comes noiv, it may never be repeated. His obedience 
was self-denying — he gave up a profitable trade, because it in- 
terfered with the command of Christ. So should we resign, with- 
out reluctance, whatever clogs our feet in the spiritual race, 
whether it be worldly gain, or worldly pleasure.* His obedi- 
ence was also determined. We never hear of his expressing a 
wish, afterwards, to return to his former employment, or of his 
regretting that he had made so great a sacrifice. Nor should 
we ever look back, after having once put our hand to the 
plough. 

Nor will the Christian less follow the example of Levi, in his 
gratitude. We are told that he " made a great feast in his 
house," to which the Saviour was invited. Thus he honoured 
his Lord, by acknowledging him as such, in the face of the 
whole company, and showed his anxiety for his former associates, 
by bringing a great number of them to an acquaintance with 
Jesus, hoping, no doubt, that it might be for their benefit. 
This shows us how, as Christians, we should use our influ- 
ence. We should not only confess Christ before the world, 
but we should take every opportunity of leading those into 
" the narrow path," with whom we formerly walked in " the 
broad way." 



Heb. xii. 1, 2. 



CHAP. V. 17-59.] S. LUKE. 277 

The Pharisees objected to our Lord's associating with the 
Publicans. What a proof was this of their uncharitable pride, 
and of the Saviour's condescension ! He " came not to call the 
righteous, but sinners to repentance." Had men been righteous, 
they had no need of a Saviour, and therefore his mission was to 
Adam's posterity as a guilty world. They who depend on their 
fancied righteousness, can have no real view of Christ's vicarious 
work. From them, as from the Pharisees of old, Christ turns 
away, whilst the humble, self-abased sinner, finds a welcome 
with the Saviour. What opinion have we of ourselves ? If we 
are high in our own estimation, Christ will be lowly esteemed ; 
but if we feel that we are vile, polluted sinners, and smart under 
the goadings of an accusing conscience, then will the Saviour 
be precious ; we shall rejoice to hear that he is a spiritual 
Physician who can heal our sin-sick souls. 

Christ's careful attention to the situation of his disciples was 
manifested by calling them to their several duties, at the 
best time and in due proportion. He would not " put new 
cloth on an old garment," nor " new wine into old bottles." 
When they received the fulness of the Spirit, they were better 
fitted to enter on fasting, and such like mortifications, in a 
spiritual frame of mind — without which men either regard 
fasting as a drudgery or make it a saviour. As long as the 
" bridegroom was with them," it would be inconsistent to adopt 
this token of mourning — but when he was removed they would 
practise this and other acts of self-denial, which, though outward, 
are both significant and useful. When we fast or abstain from 
food with the design of mortifying the appetites of the body, or 
of cultivating a tone of feeling suited to prayer and self-exami- 
nation, it will be found a great help and a means of grace. But 
if entered on in a legal spirit, or with self-righteous motives, it 
will, like all good things abused, end in pride and hardness of 
heart. May we do all things with a single eye to God's giory, 
and find, by blessed experience, that " His service is perfect 
freedom." 

Christ's declaration — that new wine must not be put into 
old bottles, was intelligible to his hearers, who always used 
leathern bottles or skins for holding their wine, which new wine 
would burst, if they were not new and sound. The meaning 
has been shown on the subject of fasting, viz. that we are not to 
put things together which do not agree, and it may be apphed 
to all those vain mixtures which men would make, between 
grace and works — the Law and the Gospel — the service of God 



278 S. LUKE. [chap. vi. 1— 1J>. 

and the service of Mammon. There must be no patch- work in 
rehgion — all must be from God. It is equally true, that " no 
man having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new, for he 
saith, the old is better" * — God's truth is from the beginning — 
but of man's novelties, like the traditions of the Pharisees, there 
is no end — let us keep to the " good old paths " of truth and 
peace ; and let us pray never to give them up for any human 
opinions and inventions. 



CHAP. VI. 1—19. 

WORKS OF NECESSITY AND MERCY ARE LAWFUL ON THE SABBATH THF, 

HEALING OF A WITHERED HAND CHRIST CHOOSETH TWELVE APOSTLES 

ON PRAYER. 

And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through 
the corn-fields ; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, 
rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them. 
Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days ? xind 
Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David 
did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him ; How 
he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and 
gave also to them that were with him ; which it is not lawful to eat but for 
the Priests alone ? And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord 
also of the sabbath. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he 
entered into the synagogue and taught : and there was a man whose right 
hand was withered. And the Scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether 
he would heal on the sabbath-day ; that they might find an accusation 
against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had 
the withered hand. Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose 
and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing ; Is 
it lawful on the sabbath-days to do good, or to do evil ? to save life, or to 
destroy it ? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the 
man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so : and his hand was restored 
whole as the other. And they were filled with madness ; and communed 
one with another what they might do to Jesus. And it came to pass in 
those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all 
night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his 
disciples : and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles ; 
Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and 
John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of 
Alphteus, and Simon called Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and 
Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. And he came down with them, 
and stood in the plaiu; and the company of his disciples, and a great mul- 
titude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of 
Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases ; 

* New wine was more 'agreeable to the taste, and therefore many passages 
in the Old Testament speak of the preference given to it ; but tlie old wine 
was move wholesome and nourishing, and therefore better than new wino. 



CHAP. VI. 1—19.] S. LUKE. 279 

And they that were vexed with unclean spirits : and they were healed. 
And the whole multitude sought to touch him : for there went virtue out 
of him, and healed them all. 

This chapter contains our Lord's exposition of the moral law, 
as regards the observance of the Sabbath. The Pharisees had 
charged his disciples with a breach of the Sabbath, for plucking 
the ears of corn and rubbing them in their hands on that day ; 
conceiving it to be all the same as though they had thrashed the 
grain. But our Lord justified their conduct by showing that it 
was a work of necessity : their hunger had been induced by 
their attendance on him, and they did no more than satisfy the 
wants of nature, which, after David's example, would have been 
allowable, even though opposed to the strict letter of the law. 
We learn from this, that God never intended that the observ- 
ance of the Sabbath should militate against the real wants or 
happiness of man. Let us not, however, turn this liberty into 
licentiousness, or, from the concession here granted, take occa- 
sion to indulge in those acts which neither promote the glory of 
God or the welfare of man, but gratify our love of pleasure or 
of worldly occupation. 

On another occasion, our Lord himself was charged by the 
Scribes and Pharisees with the crime of curing a man on the 
Sabbath-day : but he appealed to their consciences whether 
such an act, being an act of mercy, did not come within the 
line of strict obedience — had he not saved life, when he could, 
it would have been destroying it. If, like him, we do not do 
good, when opportunities offer, we must do evil. And thus 
with our Sabbaths, if we are not occupied in communion with 
God, or in benefiting man, we must be occupied in doing evil. 

The case of this poor man's cure deserves our attention : he 
had a withered hand which made it totally devoid of power ; 
yet the Saviour says to him, " Stretch forth thy hand." Had 
he been inchned to cavil at Christ's word, he might have pleaded 
his inability — he might have said to Jesus, " you desire me to 
do a thing which is impossible," — but no such expression es- 
caped his lips. 'Tis true, he could not of himself stretch forth 
his hand, but he did what he was desired ; he made the effort, 
and in doing so, the power which he wanted was given. Let those 
persons here learn a lesson, who labour under the disease of sin, 
and yet make their infirmity an excuse for their neglect of the 
means of recovery. None of us can do a single thing of our- 
selves — we cannot even pray aright till the spirit of prayer be 
given us ; but yet we are commanded to pray, and we have no 



280 S. LUKE. [ciiAP. vi. 1—19. 

more reason to say, " I will not go upon my knees till God 
gives me the spirit of prayer," than the man we read of, would 
have been right in saying, " I will not attempt to stretch out 
my hand till God makes it whole." We find that God works 
by means, and if we wish to obtain what we want, we must be 
found in the use of those means, otherwise God will not bestow 
them. The duty is ours — the power to fulfil it comes from 
God — our inability does not release us from God's demands — 
grace is not the rule but the help of duty. 

The appointment of the twelve apostles to their office, is here 
related, and the conduct of our blessed Lord on this occasion, 
deserves our attentive consideration. " He went out into a 
mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." 
On this occasion, Jesus acted in his character of mediator. As 
it becomes us to ask direction from God before we engage in 
any matter of impcirtance, so did He : this, we may suppose, 
was partly the subject of that prayer which he offered up, and 
also that those whom he might select, should be peculiarly fitted 
for their work. It was the prayer of the great bishop before 
the ordination of his first ministers. But this act of our Lord's 
is recorded for our imitation : not that God expects us to spend 
whole nights in prayer, for that would probably, (unless in some 
very pecuhar circumstances,) render us unfit for the duties of the 
ensuing day ; but we are required to " continue in prayer, and 
to watch thereunto with thanksgiving : " and the more nearly 
we can approach to the example of our Lord, in the frequency 
and urgency of our prayers, the more remarkable will be the 
answers that we shall receive, and the more abundant the com- 
munications of God to our souls. If we wrestled more like 
Jacob,* we should certainly prevail to a greater extent than in 
general we do. We all have occasions that call for direction 
and assistance from God, and on these occasions, we should go 
and spread our wants before the throne of grace. The com- 
mand is — " In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with 
" thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." t 
" In all our ways we must acknowledge him, and he will direct 
our paths." Prayer has often been called the pulse of the soul, 
and truly it is so, for by our regard to it, we may discern the 
state of our souls, much better than we can, by the pulse, the 
state of the body. Judging ourselves by this rule, are we in a 
state of spiritual health or not ? If we are prayerless people, 

* See Gen. xxxii. 24, 26. + Phil. iv. 0. 



CHAP. VI. 20—49.] S. LUKE. 281 

we are altogether dead in trespasses and sins. If our supplica- 
tions are habitually cold and formal, they denote a very un- 
healthy state of the soul. No prayer will enter into the ears of 
the Lord of Hosts, but that which is offered " in spirit and in 
truth." Let us plead for the spirit of prayer, and when once 
we taste the pleasure of communion with God, through Jesus 
Christ, it will prove the greatest source of enjoyment we can 
possess. 

Note v. 1. — ivaaesirw Sevrepovpwro} — may be rendered as here, "the second sabbath 
after the first," or better, "the first sabbath after the second," i. e. the second 
day of unleavened bread ; when the sheaf or first fi-uits were offered, and 
from this to the Pentecost they reckoned fifty days. Other explanations of 
this phrase are given, but this seems the most satisfactory. See Liohtfoot and 
Whitby. 



CHAR VI. 20-49. 



CHRIST DECLARES WHO ARE BLESSED LOVE TO OUR ENEMIES INCULCATED 

REVENGE FORBIDDEN THE HOUSE BUILT UPON THE ROCK AND UPON 

THE SAND. 

And he lifted up liis eyes on his disciples, and said. Blessed be ye poor : for 
your's is the kingdom of God. Blessed arc ye that hunger now : for ye 
shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now : for ye shall laugh. Blessed 
are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from 
their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as e\-il, for 
the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy : for, be- 
hold, your reward is great in heaven : for in the like manner did their 
fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich ! for ye have 
received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full ! for ye shall hunger. 
Woe untoyou that laugh now ! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto 
you, when all men shall speak well of you ! for so did their fathers to the 
false prophets. But I say unto you which hear. Love your enemies, do 
good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for 
them which despitefuUy use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the 
one cheek offer also the other ; and him that taketli away thy cloke forbid 
not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee ; and of 
him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that 
men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them 
which love you, what thank have ye ? for sinners also love those that love 
them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have 
ye ? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye 
hope to receive, what thank have ye ? for sinners also lend to sinners, to 
receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, 
hoping for nothing again ; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall he 
the children of the Highest : for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the 
evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge 
not, and ye shall not be judged : condemn not, and ye shall not be con- 
demned : forgive, and ye shall be forgiven : Give, and it shall be given 



282 S. LUKE. [chap. vi. 20—40. 

unto you : good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running 
over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye 
mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable 
unto them, Can the blind lead the blind ? shall they not both fall into the 
ditch ? The disciple is not above his master : but every one that is perfect 
shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either 
how canst thou say to thy brothei-. Brother, let me pull out the mote that 
is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine 
own eye ? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, 
and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's 
eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit : neither doth a cor- 
rupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. 
For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble-bush gather the}^ 
grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth 
that which is good : and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart 
bringeth forth that which is evil : for of the abundance of the heart his 
mouth speak eth. And why call ye me. Lord, Lord, and do not the things 
which I say ? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth 
them, I will shew you to whom he is like. He is like a man which built 
an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock : and when 
the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not 
shake it : for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth 
not, is like a man that viithout a foundation built an house upon the earth ; 
against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell ; and 
the ruin of that house was great. 

After the apostles had received their commission from our 
Lord, they came down with him into the plain, and vast num- 
bers surrounded him, imploring relief from their bodily diseases , 
nor did they solicit his help in vain, for *' there went virtue out 
of him and healed them all." Let us remember that he is still 
the same compassionate Saviour, and that virtue still goes out 
of him to heal all those who pray to be relieved from the domi- 
nion of sin. It was on the assembling of this multitude that 
our Lord took occasion to deliver his sentiments upon the cha- 
racter of those persons whom he considered truly blessed and 
truly wretched,^ and though he addressed himself particularly to 
his disciples, the instruction was intended for all, — yes, even for 
us, for it cannot too often be impressed upon us, that we do not 
read the Scriptures with profit, until we find that they are ad- 
dressed to ourselves, and read them as conveying a message from 
God, to our souls. 

Let us now attend to what the Lord Jesus says concerning 

* This discourse is not so full as the Sermon on the Mount. Matt. v. vi. vii. 
It was delivered on the plain, and not on a Mount ; to the disciples, and not to 
the multitude : hence Greswell concludes that it is not the same as_rgiven by St. 
Matthew. See his Harmonv and Dissertation. Vol. H- 



CHAP. VI. 20-49.] S. LUKE. 283 

happiness, and who he considers are really happy. The poor in 
spirit, — those who hunger after hohness and divine instruction, 
— those who mourn on account of their sins, — and those whose 
holy lives so much rebuke the worldly, that they separate them 
from their company. Now, why should these alone be consi- 
dered happy ? — because real blessedness consists in likeness to 
God, who is the fountain of perfection, and every Christian is 
conformed to his holy image in measure and degree — but it may 
be asked, are not many persons happy who do not answer to 
this description ? Yes, they enjoy a certain kind of happiness, 
but it is unsatisfying at best, and it must be parted with at 
death.* The Christian enjoys real peace now, and he has glory 
in prospect beyond the grave. Not so the worldly person : his 
happiness has been derived from the world, and with the world 
it will end. Those whom the world often envy, are those upon 
whom our Lord denounces a woe. If happiness be the object of 
your desire, you must seek it in the way of God's appointment. 
Do you halt between two opinions? Say will you despise 
religion in the day of judgment ? will you despise it when you 
see the difference put between the godly and the ungodly ? 
And what is that which you prefer to it ? Can you hope that 
your pleasures, your riches, or your honours will satisfy you ? 
Go, ask of Solomon, who tried them all,t or ask of those around, 
who have made the experiment, and they must confess that 
every earthly enjoyment is delusive. Look for happiness, where 
alone it can be found, in the knowledge of an Almighty Sa- 
viour, and in the sense of pardon through his atoning blood : 
thus shall ye find rest to your souls. 

The morality of the Gospel of Christ must be admired, even 
by its bitterest opposers. The law of retahation, or revenge, 
has, in all nations, been fostered and approved of, but in the 
Christian code it is expressly forbidden. Two things in parti- 
cular, we may remark, which are universally applauded among 
men, but which are contrary to the spirit of Christianity ; viz. a 
rigid maintenance of our rights, and a keen resentment of inju- 
ries. We should pray for a patient, and a yielding spirit. If a 
man were to strike any of us upon the face, it would be better 
to submit to a second insult, than to resent it, for the blow 
would only hurt the body — resentment would wound the soul. 
If any person were to injure us in our property, by taking away 
one of our garments, it would be better to suffer a greater loss 

* See Chap. xii. 19, 20. t Eccles. ii. 9— 11. 



284 S. LUKE. [chap. vi. 20—49. 

than indulge in anger or revenge. The Lord does not set aside 
human laws which protect the rights of men, but he teaches us 
to lay aside all anger and revenge towards those who may injure 
us. It is one proof of real love to our enemies, when we would 
rather relinquish our goods than lose our meekness and charity 
towards them. We should always recollect that those who are 
guilty of doing violence to our persons or our property, injure 
themselves far more than they can possibly injure us : therefore 
we should be ready to implore forgiveness for them at the hands 
of God ; but this we cannot do without first forgiving them our- 
selves. All these precepts are difficult for us to observe, and 
indeed, in this case, as in all others, we are quite helpless with- 
out the preventing grace of Christ. Nothing but that grace 
can change the heart, and renew it after the image of God ; 
when this is effected, we have both the inclination and strength 
to observe these Christian precepts. 

After censuring the conduct of those who form a rash and 
hasty judgment of others from a malicious disposition, our Lord 
next enforced the necessity of proving our love for him, by the 
holiness of our lives. To what purpose shall we make a vain 
show of respect to him, while we live in a uniform course of dis- 
obedience ? How just is his reproof: " Why call ye me Lord, 
Lord ! and do not the things that I say ? " Alas ! how often is 
the mere outside form of rehgion to be found, when there is no 
vital principle within ! Li order to impress this important sub- 
ject more fully, Christ represents by a striking parable the diffe- 
rence between the sincere believer, and the unsound professor 
of the Gospel. The sincere believer feels his helplessness, and 
comes to Jesus for instruction. His house is built on a sure 
basis. Christ, " the rock of ages," is the immovable foundation 
on which he rests : trials and temptations, like heavy storms, 
may beat upon him, but nothing shall be able to shake his hope ; 
while the mere nominal Christian, who rests upon forms and 
ceremonies, and an empty profession, shall be left defenceless in 
the day of his calamity, when the overflowing storm of divine 
anger shall light upon his baseless fabric — " and the ruin of that 
house shall be great ; " his very profession shall increase his 
condemnation. Such was the solemn declaration with which 
the Saviour closed his address to the people. May we lay it to 
heart, and may it lead us to strict and impartial self-examina- 
tion. Since we must build for eternity, let us be sure of our 
foundation. How terrible will be the confusion of the ungodly, 
when the hail of God's wrath shall sweep away " their refuge of 



CHAP. VII. 1—23.] S. LUKE. 28.5 

lies," while the humble behever in Jesus shall rest upon his 
foundation, immovably firm. 



CHAP. VII. 1—23. 



THE CENTURION S FAITH THE WIDOW S SON RAISED UP JOHN SENDS 

MESSENGERS TO CHRIST. 

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he en- 
tered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear 
unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent 
nnto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and 
heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him in- 
stantly, saying. That he was worthy for whom he should do this : For he 
loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went 
with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion 
sent friends to him, saying unto him. Lord, trouble not thyself : for I am 
not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof : Wherefore neither 
thought I myself worthy to come unto thee : but say in a word, and my 
servant shall he healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having 
under me soldiers, and I say unto one. Go, and he goeth ; and to another, 
Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant. Do this, and he doeth it. When 
Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and 
said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found 
so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the 
house, found the servant whole that had been sick. And it came to pass 
the day after, that he went into a city called Nain ; and many of his disci- 
ples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the 
gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of 
his mother, and she was a mdow : and much people of the city was with 
her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said 
unto her. Weep not. And he came and touched the bier : and they that 
bare him stood still. And he said. Young man, I say unto thee. Arise. 
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him 
to his mother. And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God, 
saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us ; and. That God hath 
visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all 
Judsea, and throughout all the region round about. And the disciples of 
John shewed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of 
his disciples sent them to Jesus, sayiilg, Art thou he that should come ? or 
look we for another ? When the men were come unto him, they said, 
John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should 
come 1 or look we for another ? And in that same hour he cured many of 
their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits ; and unto many that were 
blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them. Go your way, 
and tell John what things ye have seen and heard : how that the blind see, 
the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, 
to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall 
not be offended in me. 

Everything in this blessed Gospel is full of instruction ; each 



286 S.LUKE. [chap. vit. 1—23. 

step we advance furnishes us with fresh proofs of the divine cha- 
racter and mission of the Lord Jesus. The account of his im- 
pressive sermon was contained in the last chapter, after which 
he retired to Capernaum, his usual residence. In this city there 
was a man of good reputation, who, it would seem, attended the 
worship of the true God, though a gentile ; in all probability he 
had been converted to the knowledge of the true God by his 
intercourse with the Jews, without losing his gentile character 
— a case that often occurred at those times. Moreover, he 
proved that his zeal for God's true worship was great, for he 
built a synagogue from his own resources ; thus, putting to 
shame the coldness of many professed Christians, who, with 
greater means, have contributed so httle in building churches 
in our land. This man was a centurion, or captain, in the 
Roman army, and having heard of Jesus and his miracles, ap- 
phed to him to reheve a favourite servant, who was at the point 
of death. His humility was remarkable. He would not go to 
make the demand himself, but employed the elders of the Jews 
to convey it ; and when he found that the Saviour was coming, 
his sense of unworthiness increased, and he then went forth to 
meet him, saying that his house was not fit for the reception of 
such a guest, and that his wish could as easily be accomphshed, 
though uttered at a distance from the patient, as his own orders 
were executed by those soldiers who were in obedience to 
him. Here was faith, and such as drew forth the cure that was 
desired, for his servant was healed in the very same hour. 

Let us endeavour to apply this narrative to ourselves. Be- 
hold then, in this centurion a sense of want ; an anxiety for 
rehef ; an apphcation for it ; a firm conviction of the power of 
the Saviour to impart it ; an expectation of it : all these are the 
effects of faith. Do we possess the same, with regard to the 
concern of our souls ? we, like the centurion, are unworthy, no 
doubt ; but we see that worthiness is not necessary to recom- 
mend us to the Saviour. A sense of want and utter helpless- 
ness is our chief recommendation to him. Go and try — make 
the centurion's case your own ; ask for the removal of your sins, 
with the same earnestness that the centurion asked for his ser- 
vant's recovery, and you will find that all these miracles of heal- 
ing were performed as pledges of the Saviour's power to remove 
the strength and punishment of sin. 

The case of an afflicted widow next came under his observa- 
tion. After leaving Capernaum, he went the day after into a 
city called Nain. Shall we say that chance took him there ? 



CHAP. VH. 1—23.] S. LUKE. 287 

No, the Saviour had an object in every thing he did, and in 
every place which he visited. Mercy and love formed his ob- 
ject, and he wished now to display them in relieving this afflicted 
widow. On entering the city he met the solemn procession of 
a funeral — a distressed mother, who had been before bereaved 
of her husband, was now following to the grave her son — her 
only son — her chief support. As our Lord was partaker of our 
human feelings, he felt the tenderest compassion for the widow, 
and without any request from her, or others, interposed to wipe 
away her tears. But what comfort could be given to one who 
had lost her all ? " Is anything too hard for the Lord ! " He 
showed himself stronger than death, for instantly, with di\dne 
authority, he spoke the word and the dead revived ; he restored 
to the poor woman her beloved child, in all the vigour of health. 
What an astonishing exhibition of mercy and power ! No wonder 
that an event so uncommon should impress the spectators with 
a serious awe, and constrain them to acknowledge that " a great 
prophet had risen up among them, and that God had visited his 
people." And shall not we also be struck with a holy fear and 
reverence for the Saviour ? Though we have not, indeed, wit- 
nessed a dead body raised to hfe, yet, the power of the Lord 
Jesus is equally manifest in raising up to " newness of life," 
many whose lives once proved that they were *' dead in tres- 
passes and sins." Do we then acknowledge his power, and ask 
him to exert it in our behalf — to raise us from a state of spiritual 
death to a life of holiness ? Or have we no desire for such a 
change, and do we still prefer the enjoyment of sin ? May God 
touch the hearts of those who thus think ; for except they be 
" born again, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 

We have seen in this chapter the tenderness of the Lord 
Jesus to a poor afflicted widow. Are there any amongst us 
overwhelmed with trouble or sorrow ? to you we would say that 
Jesus is all-sufficient to support and comfort you. O, then direct 
your prayers- to him, for what cannot his power effect ? Death 
indeed may rob you of those who were the delight of your eyes, 
or the support of your declining days, but Jesus can do more for 
you than all earthly friends. He will be a husband to the 
widow — a parent to the orphan — a friend to the friendless — and 
a never-faihng source of comfort to his believing people, how- 
ever reduced or distressed. He does not willingly afflict you — 
the chastening has been sent in love and mercy to dr^w your 
heart from earthly things, that you may find your all in Christ. 
Lnprove every season of trial by private prayer and meditation 



288 S. LUKE. [chap. vii. 24—50. 

on the word of God, so shall you be enabled to say — " It is 
o^ood for me that I have been afflicted " — " before I was afflicted 
I went astray, but now have I kept thy word." * 

The report of our Lord's miracles was carried by the disci- 
ples of John to their master, who was then in prison ; and for 
their conviction, the Baptist took that opportunity of sending 
them with a message to Jesus, inquiring whether he were the 
Messiah or not. In reply, he condescended to give them the 
most satisfactory evidence, by the miracles he wrought in their 
presence, which we may suppose dispersed every doubt from 
their minds, and probably induced them to become his disciples 
after John's death. May all we hear and read of Jesus of Na- 
zareth induce us to walk as becomes his true disciples. 



CHAP. VII. 24-50. 



JOHN S OFFICE AND CHARACTER DESCRIBED A WOMAN ANOINTS THE FEET OF 

JESUS — THE Pharisee's objections reproved by christ. 

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the 
people concerning John, "What went ye out mto the wilderness for to see ? 
A reed shaken with the wind ? But what went ,ye out for to see ? A man 
clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, 
and live delicately, are in kings' courts. But what went ye out for to see ? 
A prophet ? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This 
is he, of whom it is written. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, 
which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you. Among 
those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the 
Baptist : but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being 
baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected 
the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And 
the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation ? 
and to what are they like ? They are like vmto children sitting in the mar- 
ketplace, and calling one to another, and saying. We have piped unto you, 
and ye have not danced ; we have mourned to you and ye have not wept. 
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine ; and ye 
say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking ; and ye 
say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and 
sinners ! But wisdom is justified of all her children. And one of the 
Pharisees desired him that he would cat with him. And he went into the 
Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the 
city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the 
Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment. And stood at his 
feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did 
wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them. 
with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw //, 

* Psalm cxix. 07. 71. 



CHAP. VII. 24— gO.] S. LUKE. 289 

he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would 
have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him : 
for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said unto him, Simon, I have 
somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a 
certain creditor which had two debtors : tlie one owed five hundred pence, 
and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly for- 
gave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most ? 
Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. 
And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the 
woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman ? I entered into thine 
house, thou gavest me no water for my feet : but she hath washed my feet 
with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no 
kiss : but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my 
feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint : but this woman hath 
anointed my feet with ointment. ^VTierefore I say unto thee. Her sins, 
which are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much : but to whom little is 
forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her. Thy sins are for- 
given. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves. 
Who is this that forgiveth sins also ? And he said to the woman, Thy 
faith hath saved thee ; go in peace. 

Our Lord took occasion from the visit of John's disciples, to 
address the multitude concerning the Baptist, who had once 
appeared popular among them. He spoke of him in terms of 
approbation, as being firm and bold both in preaching and prac- 
tice ; not easily shaken hke a reed by the wind — not seeking the 
pomps of the world, but a man of singular austerity and self- 
denial. He declared him to be superior to all the prophets that 
preceded him, in that he was the forerunn'er of Christ, and lived 
to see his day. He lamented the awful condition of those who 
rejected the Baptist's message, and turned from the Saviour 
whom he preached ; and then complained of the perverseness of 
the men of that generation, who had shown the most absurd pre- 
judices against them both, though for opposite reasons. They 
refused to attend to John, on account of his austerity, and they 
showed a dislike to Jesus for the freedom of his intercourse with 
people of all characters; yet the Saviour rejoiced that there were 
some who approved the wisdom of his conduct. The application 
to ourselves of what has just been read is very obvious. Alas, 
how many are there who betray a froward and cavilling temper 
like the pharisees ! They are ready to censure every body whom 
they know to be religious, merely to furnish an excuse for their 
not becomino^ relio;ious themselves : but let us recollect that we 
are not to be judged by comparison with any man, nor are we 
to take the conduct of any man as our guide. Though every 
religious person we know were to act inconsistently, yet that 
would neither justify our acting so, nor would it excuse us from 

VOL. I. U 



290 S. LUKE, [chap. vti. 24—50. 

being religious. God's word is our rule, and by that we should 
be guided, without respect to the opinion of men. 

Whenever an opportunity of usefulness occurred, our Lord 
was ready to embrace it ; we lately heard of his visiting the 
house of a publican, and now he accepts the invitation of a 
Pharisee. On this occasion a circumstance happened which 
displayed the pride of the Pharisee and the love of the Saviour. 
A woman followed him into the house, and she was " a sinner." 
But it may be asked, was any thing remarkable in this ? are we 
not all sinners ? yet it is not said merely that she had sinned, 
but that she was " a sinner " — which imports that she had been 
a person of profligate character ; her trade was that of a sinner. 
Such had been her former MTetched hfe, but now she is altered ; 
her very presence argues her change. Had she been still living 
in sin, she could no more have endured the sight of Christ, than 
the Satanic being who possessed the man and cried out, " Art 
thou come to torment me." But she sought out Christ, and 
although the Pharisee's house was the place where she would be 
least welcome, yet did she overcome all fear of scorn, and found 
her way to the room where the Saviour reclined. No disad- 
vantage can deter the awakened sinner from a speedy recourse 
to Jesus. 

But whence came all her anxiety ? Doubtless she had heard 
the Saviour preach, and his invitations to burdened sinners had 
reached her heart : she witnessed his condescension to others ; 
she thought of herself, and made trial of his love. Behold her 
now in a different frame of mind from what she ever felt before. 
Even her love was turned another way, from things sensual to 
divine — her ointment was altered in its use : from being abused 
to luxury, it is now consecrated to devotion : her eyes which for- 
merly were the inlets and outlets of sin, now stream with tears, 
and bedew the Saviour's feet : her hair, on the ornamenting of 
which so much precious time had been squandered, is now em- 
ployed as a towel to wipe those feet ; she considers the best of 
her possessions as honoured by being employed in her Saviour's 
service. All this was the fruit of gratitude — " behold how she 
loved him ! " Whence was this change, but from the secret 
working of God's Spirit ! " He smote the rock, and the waters 
gushed out." O Lord, smite our rocky hearts, that the waters 
of godly sorrow may burst forth. Plave we ever wept like this 
woman at the Saviour's feet ? Have we employed in his service 
the instruments of our former sin ? God grant that our hearts 
may be changed like her's, and our conduct shall be the same also. 



CHAP. VII. 24—50.] S. LUKE. 2'Jl 

The Pharisee saw all this, but with an evil eye. He suspects 
the true character of* Christ — he unjustly charges the woman 
with continuing to be what she had once been, though her 
change was evident : being free from gross sin, he conceived 
that he was far superior to this woman. How difficult is it to 
persuade the mere moralists, of their sinfulness : truly does our 
Lord say that the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of 
God before them. Simon spoke within himself, but Jesus an- 
swered the thoughts of his heart, and so proved that he ivas 
a prophet. He then proposed a parable, supposing the case of 
two debtors to one creditor : the one owed a lesser sum — the 
other, a greater ; both are forgiven : who then, he asks, will 
love most ? Simon could not but answer — the one to whom the 
largest sum was forgiven. Jesus thus fastens conviction upon 
him, and obliged him to pass sentence upon himself in favour 
of her whom he condemned. Her tears of sorrowing love, and 
her other acts which he had witnessed, were the expression of 
her gratitude for sin already pardoned ; while the cold reception 
which Simon gave him, having neglected to offer those customary 
tokens of respect which every guest was entitled to, proved that 
his love to the Saviour was still low and deficient. " Wherefore," 
says our Lord, "her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she 
loved much : " not that the pardon of her sin was the conse- 
quence of her love, but her love was the consequence of her 
pardon. 

Let us briefly apply this narrative to ourselves : God is our 
creditor, we all are debtors, some to a larger, and others to a 
smaller extent, but here we are all on a level — none of us have 
any thing to pay. We must go to that Saviour with whom is 
frank forgiveness. Let us implore the pardon of our sins through 
his blood, and let us recollect that, if pardoned, we cannot but 
love Jesus, and if we love, w^e cannot help showing it. In vain 
shall we profess to love, if our all is not at his service. Though 
Christ, the head of the body, is exalted beyond our reach of 
ministering personally to him — yet, let us bestow upon' his feet 
— the members of his church on earth — our tears, our ointment, 
and whatever may testify our love to him : — remembering his 
own gracious word, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Note on v. 37. — Gregory says, " We water the feet of our Lord witli. tears, if 
we are moved with compassion to any, even the lowest members of our Lord. 
We wipe our Lord's feet with our hair, when we shew pity to his saints by 
the sacrifice of those thino-s with wliich wc abound:" Horn. 33. 



292 S. LUKE. 1_c»ap. yiii. 1— 2i 



CHAP. VIII. 1—25. 



•WOMEN MINISTER TO CHRIST OF THEIR SUBSTANCE HE PROPOUNDETH THE 

PARABLE OF THE SOWER, AND OF THE CANDLE CHRIST's TRUE RELATIONS. 

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, 
preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God : and the 
twelve were with him. And certain women, which had been healed of evil 
spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven 
devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and 
many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. x\nd when 
much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every 
city, he spake by a parable : A sower went out to sow his seed : and as he 
sowed, some fell by the way-side ; and it was trodden down, and the fowls 
of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock : and as soon as it was 
sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell 
among thorns ; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And 
other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. 
And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let 
him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying. What might this parable 
be ? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the king- 
dom of God : but to others in parables ; that seeing they|might not see, 
and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this : The 
seed is the word of God. Those by the way-side are they that hear ; then 
cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they 
should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they 
hear, receive the word with joy ; and these have no root, which for a while 
believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell 
among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are 
choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit 
to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest 
and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with 
patience. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a 
vessel, or putteth it under a bed ; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they 
which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be 
made manifest ; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come 
abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear : for whosoever hath, to him 
shall be given ; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that 
which he seeraeth to have. Then came to him his mother and his bre- 
thren, and could not come at him for the press. And it was told him by 
certain which said. Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to 
see thee. And he answered and said unto them. My mother and my bre- 
thren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. Now it came to 
pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples : and he 
said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they 
launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep : and there came down a 
storm of wind on the lake ; and they were filled with water, and were in 
jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying. Master, master, 
we perish. Then be arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the 
water : and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, 



CHAP. VIII. 1—25.] S. LUKE. 298 

Where is your faith ? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to ano- 
ther, What manner of man is this ! for he commandeth even the winds and 
water, and they obey him. 

Many who for a time resorted to Jesus, soon withdrew from his 
company, having no rehsh for his conversation ; but he had some 
attendants who were almost constantly with him. The twelve 
Apostles accompanied himalways — these he chose as his witnesses; 
besides, certain pious women who had been healed of their infir- 
mities, and converted by his grace, waited on him, and " minis- 
tered to him of their substance."* So mean and destitute was 
the condition of Jesus, while on earth, that he subsisted on the 
charity of others. Though we cannot, like these women, minister 
to Jesus in his person, yet we may, and ought, as far as in us 
lies, minister to the wants of his distressed members ; for what 
is done to them, he considers as done to himself. If we, then, 
shut up our bowels of compassion from them, " how dwelleth the 
love of God in us." f 

When many of the people were gathered from every city 
round about, Jesus spoke to them a parable ; and although the 
meaning of it could scarcely have been misunderstood, yet our 
Lord yielded to the dulness of his disciples, and gave them a 
clear and distinct interpretation of it. Jesus is the sower, who 
by the preaching of the Gospel, scatters abroad the good seed 
of the word ; his faithful ministers also are employed by him in 
doing the same in all ages of the church — but alas ! the most 
excellent instruction does not always produce the desired effect. 
There is not a congregation, and scarcely a family, where there 
are not to be found persons who answer to the different charac- 
ters here described. Some are hard and impenetrable as the 
ground on which they tread ; — the seed is sown, but their hearts, 
like the highway, lie exposed, and Satan, ever watchful, des- 
troys the seed before any impression can be made. Others are, 
in a degree, affected by the declaration of the Gospel, but their's 
is only a momentary emotion — like the shallow surface of clay 
which covers the rock, so do they give promise of fruitfulness : 
the word of truth is heard and received, but the rock beneath 
prevents its growth, and their fair professions wither, scorched 
by the sun of mockery and persecution. A third class seems 

* Of these, the most noted were Joanna, the mfe of Herod's steward, (which 
shews that Christ's followers are often found, where we least expect ;) and Mary 
Magdalene, " out of whom went seven devils," — it is not said that she was a 
woman of a bad character. She is said to have been called Magdalene, from her 
husband, who was from Magdala. t 1 John iii. 17. 



294 S. LUKE. [chap. viii. 1—2.5. 

more hopeful — the blade springs up, and endures the various 
changes of the winter's cold ; but here, too, the word becomes 
unfruitful, for cares and riches and pleasures engross the mind, 
and finally prevail over the more hopeful appearance of rehgion 
in them. However, the labour of the husbandman is not, in 
every instance, unfruitful ; there are those who resemble the 
goocl ground , whose hearts are prepared by divine grace to re- 
ceive the heavenly seed of the word : they perceive its impor- 
tance, and cherish it in their hearts — they pray that the Lord 
would remove all the briars and thorns which would impede its 
growth ; they pray for the dew of the Holy Spirit to water the 
seed when sown, which being thus placed under the care of the 
heavenly husbandman grows and flourishes. These persons walk 
worthy of their high calling, being fruitful in every good word 
and work : their sincerity is proved by their perseverance in 
holiness : they " grow in grace and in the knowledge of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Let us make an application 
of this parable to ourselves ; we have been favoured with the 
light of the Gospel — what, let us ask ourselves, is the effect 
produced on us by the blessed truths it teaches ? Is our religion 
such as will carry us through temptations, trials, and persecu- 
tion ? Is it such as renders us superior to the allurements of sin ? 
Is it strong enough to prevent our wasting that time on vanity, 
M'hich should be devoted to the care of the soul ? Let us not 
trifle with matters of such moment, but let us implore of the 
Lord Jesus to prepare our hearts for the reception of the truth, 
and to make it effectual to our salvation. 

The Saviour subjoined a solemn caution to his disciples, re- 
minding them, by the parable of the candle set in a candlestick, 
that divine light had been given to them for the benefit of others, 
as well as for themselves, and that they should show it forth in 
their lives and conversation. When a person is converted by 
the Spirit of God, there is a light placed in his mind which 
reason and philosophy cannot impart, and which no man can 
possess unless it be given him from above. God then " shines 
into his heart, and gives him the light of the knowledge of his 
glory in the face of Jesus Christ." * But this is not to be a 
dormant principle ; it must show itself; as a candle is placed to 
disperse its light around, so is the Christian. Do we ask how 
we may become lights of the world ? The words of Christ on 
another occasion will direct us to the way of attaining it : — 

* 2 Cor. iv. 6. 



CHAP. VIII. 2G— 5(5.] S. LUKE. 295 

" While ye have light, beheve in the light, that ye may be the 
children of light." * Faith conveys divine illumination to the 
otherwise darkened soul — we are then well fitted to reflect this 
light to those around us. The fruits of holiness and usefulness 
will appear in our daily walk, and men will be induced to seek 
the vitahty of religion. 

Observe what crowds attended the preaching of our Lord at 
this time. His mother and his brethren could not get near him. 
It appears probable, that they came from a foolish fear lest he 
should injure himself by too much speaking ; but it was meat and 
drink to Jesus to be thus employed. His affection for Mary was 
indeed strong — but in a spiritual sense, his love tow^ards his 
people is equally great — his true relations are described " as 
those W'ho hear the word of God and do it." Blessed indeed is 
our lot if we are among God's adopted children — nothing can 
equal his love to us, if we are numbered amongst them — and 
from that love, nothing shall be able to separate us. 



CHAP. Vm. 26—56. 

CHRIST CASTETH OUT THE LEGION OF DEVILS THEY ENTER THE SWINE 

THE CHANGE IN THE DEMONIAC CHRIST HEALETH THE WOMAN OF HER 

BLOODY ISSUE. 

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against 
Gahlee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city 
a certain man, which had de^-ils long time, and ware no clothes, neither 
abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, 
and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do 
with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high ? I beseech thee, torment 
me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the 
man. For oftentimes it had caught him : and he was kept bound with 
chains and in fetters : and he brake the bauds, and was driven of the devil 
into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying. What is thy name 1 
And he said. Legion : because many de^-ils were entered into him. And 
they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the 
deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the moun- 
tain : and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. 
And he suffered them. Then went the de^-ils out of the man, and entered 
into the swine : and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, 
and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, 
and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out 
to see what was done ; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom 
the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his 
right mind ; and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by 

* John xii. 36. 



296 S. LUKE. [chap. viii. 26— 5(5. 

•what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the 
whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought 
him to depart from them ; for they were taken with great fear : and he 
went up into the ship, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom 
the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him : but 
Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how 
great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and pub- 
lished throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto 
him. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people 
gladly received him : for they were all waiting for him. And, behold, 
there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue : 
and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into 
his house : For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and 
she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. And a woman 
having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon 
physicians, neither could be healed of any. Came behind him, and touched 
the border of his garment : and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 
And Jesus said. Who touched me ? When all denied, Peter, and they 
that were with him, said. Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, 
and sayest thou. Who touched me? And Jesus said. Somebody hath 
touched me : for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the 
woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and, falling down 
before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she 
had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto 
her. Daughter, be of good comfort ; thy faith hath made thee whole : go 
in peace. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the 
synagogue's hovse, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead ; trouble not the 
Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not : 
believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the 
house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James and John, and 
the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her : 
but he said. Weep not ; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed 
him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and 
took her by the hand, and called, saying. Maid, arise. And her spirit 
came again, and she arose straightway : and he commanded to give her 
meat. And her parents were astonished ; but he charged them that they 
should tell no man what was done. 

We lately heard the Saviour commanding the winds and waters, 
and they immediately obeyed him : here we read of him speak- 
ing in the same language to the evil spirits ; he entreats not, he 
persuades not, but commands with authority. His love directed 
him across the lake, where a miserable object needed his assist- 
ance ; he was possessed with devils, which gave him such super- 
natural strength that no ordinary force could bind or restrain 
him ; he wandered about in the most lonesome places — an inha- 
bitant of the tombs * — a burden to himself, and a terror to the 
neighbourhood. As soon as Jesus landed, this unhappy sufferer 

* Whither he was driven by Satan, v. 29. Beza remarks that t/Accwcto refers 
to the violent course of a horse, when spurred on. 



CHAP. VIII. 2G-0G.] S. LUKE. 297 

met him— intentionally on the part of Jesus — unwillingly on his 
own part, for the devils who possessed him would, if they could, 
have avoided the Saviour's presence. But the overruhng power 
of Christ dragged the foul spirit into his presence. At first he 
humbly acknowledges his power, by calling him " Jesus the Son 
of the most high God." Satan's tone is altered since his first 
onset with Christ, then he said, " If thou he the Son of God," * 
now, he confesses him to be such ; then he said — " all these things 
will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" — now 
he says, " I beseech thee, torment me not." Christ gained the 
victory over him in the wilderness, and Satan is obliged to own 
it. How should this comfort us who groan under the attacks of 
Satan ! Christ is able, yea, is willing to release us. Let us 
pray that he may do so. 

The devils will ever love mischief; they see that they must 
leave the man, and they ask permission to possess a herd of swine, 
hoping to work in these Gadarenes a discontentment at Christ — 
an unwillingness to entertain him — a desire for his absence. 
Jesus granted their request, that such amongst them as denied 
the existence of spirits, might be fully convinced by the event : 
the wicked spirits have their wish ; the swine are choked in the 
waves ; the Gadarenes are offended, and beseech him to depart, 
whereas they ought to have praised his mercy, whose power 
might have allowed these spirits to seize on their persons instead 
of their swine. They put him from them, who alone was able 
to defend them from the power of the devil. Let us take care 
that we are not doing the same : if we reject the Saviour, we 
certainly act as they did. 

But see what a change has been effected upon the poor demo- 
niac : he who so lately wandered about in frantic wildness, is 
now tame and peaceable : he now " sits at the feet of Jesus, 
clothed and in his right mind." What a picture, this, of that 
mighty change which takes place in the heart of him who is 
converted by the Spirit of God ; more particularly of him whose 
mad career in dissipation knew no restraint : once the slave of 
Satan, and led captive by him, he has been freed by the power 
of Jesus, and he sits at his feet for instruction, clothed in his 
righteousness, and restored to his proper senses, which before he 
had utterly lost. No unconverted man is in his right mind : he 
follows the course of this world, and indulges in the wildest 
vanities, while within a few paces of the abyss of hell. 

* Matt. iv. .3. 



298 S. LUKE. [chap. viii. 2G— 56. 

This poor man begged to remain with Jesus, but he permitted 
him not, having work for him to do elsewhere. Often is the 
new-born Christian so charmed with the Saviour, and so dis- 
gusted with the world, that he feels anxious to " depart and to be 
with Christ ; " but that Saviour who saved him, has work for 
him to do on earth ; he must go and tell his friends and neigh- 
bours what great things the Lord hath done for him : he must 
try and be of use to them in the concerns of their souls : his life 
must preach as well as his lips, that others may be won by his 
holy and consistent conduct. 

Immediately after the cure of this person, our Lord returned 
to the other side of the lake, to display fresh instances of his 
Almighty love and power. There came to him a man named 
Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue ; he had but one only daughter, 
who lay at death's door, and for her he entreats that the Saviour 
might go and heal her. His request is granted — Jesus sets out 
for his house ; but as the faith of Jairus was so soon to be tried, 
by hearing of his daughter's death, it was also to be strengthened 
by witnessing an extraordinary miracle by the way. There was 
a poor woman who laboured under an issue of blood — a disease 
that had not more pain than shame, nor more natural infirmity 
than legal impurity. Time added to her grief: twelve long 
years had she languished under this woeful complaint ; besides, 
poverty was added to her sickness : " she had spent all her living 
upon physicians." Could the physicians have even given her 
ease, though not a cure, then had her money not been misap- 
plied — but she suffered many things from them. Could she 
have purchased health, even at the expense of cost and pain, 
it had been well ; but, alas ! her estate was the worse — her body 
not the better : her money was wasted, but not her disease ; 
what a lamentable case was her's ! We are all afflicted with a 
worse disease, sin ; it is incurable by human art ; we may try 
the various remedies which ignorant man proposes, but after all, 
like this poor woman, we shall grow worse instead of better — 
sin will be still uncured, and its sting will wound our conscience. 
Let us follow her example : when all failed she came to Jesus, 
and had she gone to him sooner, her money and her pain had 
been spared. 

Doubtless there was weakness in the faith of this woman ; the 
shame of her disease stopped her mouth from any verbal suit ; 
she tried to steal a cure, and came behind the Saviour to touch 
the hem of his garment — she did so, and was made whole. Who 
would not think that a person might take a cup of water out of 



ciiAr. IX. 1-27.] S. LUKE. 299 

the sea, unmissed ? yet this fearful soul could not steal one drop 
of mercy from this bottomless sea of divine bounty, without its 
being felt and questioned ; " Jesus said, who touched me ? " 
But why should the Saviour ask who touched him, while the 
crowd was pressing around ? These people thronged him — one 
only touched him ; he considered not their'' s as a touch, since 
faith was wanting. She only was said to touch him, who be- 
lieved, and expected to receive virtue from him. Just so among 
ourselves : we may go with the multitude to the house of God, 
but without that faith which appropriates the Saviour's merits to 
ourselves, we press in vain. The woman trembles at this dis- 
covery, but though Jesus spoke with sternness, it was only to set 
off the sweetness of his parting words — " Thy faith hath made 
thee whole ; go in peace." What a pattern of powerful faith 
had we lost, if Jesus had not called this action into light ; the 
woman also might have been an unthankful receiver of so great 
a benefit. She now departs in peace — health of body, and 
peace of conscience. May we seek the pardon of our sins, as 
she did the cure of her body, by an application to Jesus : then 
shall we have a peace which the world can neither give, nor take 
away. 

The chapter closes with an account of our Lord's raising to 
life the daughter of Jairus, who had died ere he reached the 
house. He is " the resurrection and the life." Let us rejoice 
that he is able to quicken our dead souls now, as he shall here- 
after raise our dead bodies from the grave. 

Note. — Bishop Hall says, beautifully, on v. 44. " Saviour, my soul is sick and 
foul enough with the impurities of sin ; let me, by the hand of faith, lay hold 
but upon the hem of thy garment, (thy righteousness is the garment) it shall 
be both clean and whole." — See his Contemplations, b. iv. c. vii. 



CHAP. IX. 1 



CHRIST SENDETII HIS APOSTLES TO WORK MIRACLES, AND TO PREACH HERO0 

DESIRED TO SEE JESUS FIVE THOUSAND MIRACULOUSLY FED ON CONFESS- 
ING CHRIST, AND TAKING UP THE CROSS. 

Then lie called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority 
over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom 
of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them. Take nothing for your 
journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money ; neither have 
two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence 
depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, 
shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them. And 



300 S. LUKE. [chap. ix. 1—27. 

they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and 
healing every where. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done 
hy him : and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some that John 
was risen from the dead ; And of some, that Elias had appeared ; and of 
others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, 
John have I beheaded : but who is this, of whom I hear such things ? 
And he desired to see him. And the apostles, when they were returned, 
told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside 
privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And 
the people, when they knew it, followed him : and he received them, and 
spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of 
healing. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, 
and said unto him. Send the multitude away, that they may go into the 
towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals : for we are 
here in a desert place. But he said unto them. Give ye them to eat. And 
they said. We have no more but five loaves and two fishes ; except we 
should go and buy meat for all this people. (For they were about five 
thousand men.) And he said to his disciples. Make them to sit down by 
fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then 
he took the five loaves and the two fishes ; and looking up to heaven, he 
blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multi- 
tude. And they did eat, and were all filled : and there was taken up of 
fragments that remained to them twelve baskets. And it came to pass as 
he was alone praying, his disciples were vnih him : and he asked them 
saying. Whom say the people that I am ? They answering said, John the 
Baptist ; but some say, Elias ; and others sar/, That one of the old prophets 
is risen again. He said unto them. But whom say ye that I am ? Peter 
answering said. The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and 
commanded them to tell no man that thing : Saying', the Son of man must 
suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and 
scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said unto them 
all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it : 
but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For 
what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or 
be cast away ? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, 
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own 
glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a 
truth. There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they 
see the kingdom of God. 

We were informed in the sixth chapter of this Gospel, that our 
Lord chose twelve Apostles, whom, after training in the work 
of their office, he now sends forth to preach the Gospel through 
Judea. Should we not be thankful that their commission, at 
first so circumscribed, was afterwards enlarged, and that they 
were commanded to " go into all the world, and preach the 
Gospel to every creature,"* — a commission which has been mer- 
cifully preserved and extended by a succession of duly ordained 

* Mark xvi. 15. 



CHAP. IX. 1—27.] S. LUKE. noi 

ministers — otherwise, how should the glad tidings of a Saviour 
have ever reached us ? But let us inquire of what benefit has 
the Gospel been to us ? Have we only received from it the 
name of Christian ? — if so, our condemnation will be greater 
than theirs who never heard it. It is intended to influence our 
hearts, and lives, and till then, we hear it in vain. 

The conduct of Herod displays the power of a guilty con- 
science ; it disturbs the peace and serenity of the mind, and 
fills it with fearful apprehensions. Herod had murdered John 
the Baptist, and was now afraid that his spirit would haunt 
him.* Among the various reports, it was said by some that 
John was risen from the dead, and for that reason, the guilty 
and self-accused Herod was anxious to see Jesus, to satisfy his 
curiosity. Had he gone to see him now, a happy change might 
have been wrought in him, by witnessing the miracles, and lis- 
tening to the preaching of Jesus ; but he suppressed the striv- 
ings of conscience, and afterwards, when he did see Jesus, " he 
with his men of war set him at naught." f Little do they ima- 
gine to what lengths of rebelHon they may go, who silence the 
voice of conscience. 

After a short absence, the apostles returned to report their 
progreSjS and, for the sake of quietude, our Lord retired with 
them to a desert place ; but what flocking was there after Jesus 
wherever he went : no sooner had he gone, than multitudes 
follow him, and so far from being annoyed at the interruption, 
he at once yielded to their wishes, " He spake unto them of the 
kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing." 
That our Saviour might approve himself every way beneficent, 
he now provides for their temporal wants : their zeal for instruc- 
tion made them forgetful of providing food : and we may ob- 
serve, concerning ourselves, that the more our minds are occu- 
pied about heavenly things, the less anxiety shall we feel about 
our bodily wants. The disciples having observed the diligent 
attendance of the multitude, now towards evening came to their 
Master, desirous that they should be fed and dismissed ; and our 
Lord's reply was, " Give ye them to eat." Sometimes it pleases 
the Lord to require of us what we are not able to perform, that 
we may be humbled by seeing that we cannot do it, and that we 
may be raised to a dependence on him who can do it for us : as 
when the mother bids her infant walk, though yet unable, 
intending all the while to afford assistance, the moment it cries 

* This refers to Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, mentioned in .Matt. 
ii. 1.— See Home's Introduction, vol. iii. p. 98. t Chap, xxiii. 11. 



302 S.LUKE. [ciiAiMx. 1-27. 

for relief. God desires us, weak creatures, to keep his royal law 
— alas ! what can we sinners do ? there is no one letter of those 
ten precepts which we are able to keep by our own power and 
strength ; this command, then, whilst it points out our duty, 
proves our weakness. But God's commands are not like those 
of the Egyptian taskmasters, requiring the brick and not giving 
the straw ; if we feel our impotence, and sinfulness, and cry to 
him for relief, he will teach us to love his law, and dispose us to 
choose those ways which our worldly hearts are inclined to 
refuse. In this way our Lord obtained from the apostles what 
he wanted, namely — an acknowledgment of their insufficiency. 
They say, " we have no more but five loaves and two fishes : " 
a poor provision for the Lord of the whole earth, to entertain 
his household, and so great a multitude. Well does Jesus pour 
contempt on the costly meals of the men of this world, and of 
too many amongst those who are Christians. Our bodies should 
be fed, not pampered : the end of food is to sustain nature, 
meat was ordained for the body — ^the body for the soul — and all 
for God : to rest in the pleasure of eating may befit those 
creatures which have no souls. If we have ^'food and raiment, 
let us be therewith content." 

The multitude are now desired to sit down : they obey, and 
expect — O marvellous faith ! so many thousands sit down 
at the Saviour's command, and prepare for a meal, when 
they saw nothing but five poor barley-loaves, and two small 
fishes. It is the part of Christ's followers to lead a life of faith, 
and even when means appear not — to wait upon that merciful 
hand. Nothing is more easy than to trust God when our 
barns and stores are full, and to say, " Give us this day our daily 
bread," when we have it at hand ; but when we have nothing, 
and know not how or whence to get any thing, then to depend 
on an invisible bounty, that is real, lively faith. We are at a 
loss whether most to admire the miraculous feeding — they all 
ate, and were filled — about five thousand men — or the quantity 
that remained, twelve baskets full of fragments, according to the 
number of his chosen apostles. Those that follow the Lord 
Jesus shall not want, even in a desert. In him all fulness 
dwells, and this miracle is placed on record to quell the fears of 
his believing people. Shall the Israelites be fed with manna ? 
Ehjah by the ravens ? The widow by her multiplied meal and 
oil ? Christ's followers in the wilderness with loaves and 
fishes ? And can he forget the spiritual wants of his children ? 



CHAP. IX. 28— G2.] S. LUKE. SOG 

far be this from him. " They who seek the Lord shall want 
ho manner of thing that is good." * 

When the multitude had retired, our blessed Lord, as the 
head of a family, gave his disciples an example of faniily prayer, 
and then entered into conversation with them upon the general 
opinion which prevailed respecting him. Peter, in the name 
of the others, confessed him to be the Christ of God, upon 
which our Lord took occasion to remind them that they should 
be put to the trial, whether they were sincere in their profes- 
sion ; that the mere name of being his followers would avail 
nothing, unless they were ready to take up their cross and suffer 
for him. If the fear of persecution, mockery, or death, could 
induce them to be ashamed of him, they were not worthy to be 
called his disciples. 

What was said to them, belongs also to us. What do we 
think of Christ ? Is he a Saviour worth suffering for ? Are 
we his disciples indeed ? What motives induce us to assume 
that character ? Are we ready to give up every thing that 
stands in competition with him, that he may be our " all in 
all ? " Let us anticipate the season when he shall come in the 
glory of his Father, and let us recollect that we should make 
but a wretched bargain, were we to lose our souls at last, for all 
that this world can offer us in exchange. 



CHAP. XL 28—62. 

THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST HE HEALS A CHILD POSSESSED OF AN UN- 
CLEAN SPIRIT COMMENDETH HUMILITY FORBIDS REVENGE TOWARDS THE 

SAMARITANS FOLLOWING CHRIST SET FORTH. 

And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter 
and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he 
prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was 
white and gUstering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which 
were Moses and Elias ; Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, 
which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were 
with him were heavy with sleep ; and when they were awake, they saw his 
glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they 
departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be 
here ; and let us make three tabernacles ; one for thee, and one for Moses, 
and one for Elias : not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there 
came a cloud, and overshadowed them : and they feared as they entered 
into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying. This is 
my beloved Son : hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was 

* Psahn xxxiv. 10. 



304 S. LUKE. [chap. ix. 28—02. 

found alone. And tliey kept it close, and told no man in those days any 
of those things which they had seen. And it came to pass, that on the 
next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. 
And, hehold, a man of the company cried out, saying, INIaster, I beseech 
thee, look upon my son : for he is mine only child : And, lo, a spirit 
taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out ; and it teareth him that he foameth 
again ; and, bruising him, hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy 
disciples to cast him out ; and they could not. And Jesus answering said, 
O faithless and perverse generation ! how long shall I be with you, and 
suffer you ? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the 
devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean 
spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And 
they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they 
wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his dis- 
ciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears : for the Son of man 
shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this 
saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not : and they 
feared to ask him of that saying. Then there arose a reasoning among 
them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the 
thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him. And said unto 
them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me ; and 
whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me : for he that is least 
among you all, the same shall be great. And John answered and said. 
Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name ; and we forbad him, 
because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him. Forbid him 
not : for he that is not against us is for us. And it came to pass, when 
the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face 
to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face : and they went, 
and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And 
they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to 
Jerusalem. And when his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said. 
Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and con- 
sume them, even as Elias did .'' But he turned and rebuked them, and 
said. Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man 
is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to 
another village. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a 
certain man said unto him. Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou 
goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air 
have nests ; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he 
said unto another. Follow me. But he said. Lord, suffer me first to go 
and bury my father. Jesus said unto him. Let the dead bury their dead ; 
but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said. 
Lord, I will follow thee ; but let me first go and bid them farewell which 
are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man having put 
his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

The transfig^uration of Christ was one of those events in the 
history of his hfe which pecuharly declared him to be God. As 
man, he appeared " in the form of a servant," but now he was 
pleased to give a ghmpse of his g'lory ; and those three disciples 
who were afterwards to suffer most for his sake, were permitted 
to witness it. The last words in the preceding part of this 



CHAP. IX. 28—62.] S. LUKE. 305 

chapter, conveyed the declaration of Christ, that there were some 
standing by, who should not taste death till they saw the king- 
dom of God. Peter, James, and John, were these some : they 
tasted not of death, till they saw the royalty of Christ glorified, 
— a foretaste and pledge of that glory which he shall have in his 
future kingdom. 

The time of this event is remarkable. Matthew and Mark 
say it took place six days after he gave the promise of it ; St. 
Luke says, about eight days : the difference may easily be 
reconciled by the different manner of computation, in the reck- 
oning of nights and days. We may reasonably conjecture that 
it occurred on the seventh day, the Sabbath ; why else should it 
be so precisely mentioned, " after six days," and "about eight," 
but to imply that day which was betwixt the sixth and eighth. 
God teaches both bywords and actions, that the Sabbath of the 
world shall be at Christ's glorious appearance, and at the trans- 
figuration of his believing people, " quick and dead," with him ; 
both being represented by his attendants — Elijah, who never 
died — Moses who had died — yet both accompanied him at this 
solemn season.* Our Lord took three disciples with him : a 
legal number of witnesses ; and they went up into a mount to 
pray. What should we dare to do without prayer, when he that 
was God would do nothing without it ? 

Let us now gaze on the scene which was presented. Jesus 
appears in glory : that face which was often covered with shame, 
and contempt, and spitting, now shines so that mortal eyes 
could not behold it. How shall sinners tremble when Jesus 
appears in his glory ! How shall they wonder, who could see 
no form and comeliness in him ! Let us pray that we may 
admire him now by faith, and see the excellency of his redeem- 
ing love. Yet with all this glory around, the disciples fall 
asleep : sad emblem of frail humanity ! when they do awake, 
Peter exclaims, " Lord, it is good for us to be here : " so far he 
was right, but when he wished to make three tabernacles, for 
Christ and his attendants, he spoke ignorantly. These things 
were only the miniature of glory — an outbreaking of the Sun of 
Righteousness, but not the full, abiding splendour of the perfect 
day. If then Peter could not set up these tabernacles on the 
Mount, how much less should we do so on earth, where there is 
nothing to fill the desires of a heaven-born soul. May we have 



* See another reason for these attendants being selected, in the Comments on 
Matt. xvii. 

VOL. I. X 



SOO S. LUKE. [chap. ix. 28—62, 

such a taste for heavenly things, that nothing below shall 
satisfy us. 

After the eyes of the disciples had been dazzled with the 
glory, a cloud succeeds and shades them ; and from that cloud a 
voice issues, proclaiming Jesus to be the beloved Son of the 
Father. How gladly does Peter afterwards recount this as a con- 
clusive testimony for the divinity of Jesus, when he declares, 
that he heard the voice, and was an eye-witness of his majesty.* 
Moses and Elias are now gone, only Christ is left ; the glory of 
the law and the prophets was but temporary, that Christ might 
remain conspicuous : they came but to give testimony to Jesus 
— when that was done, they vanished. If Christ be with us, it 
matters not who departs. Oh let us make him ours by faith, 
and we shall live above the world. 

The disciples manifest the weakness of the creature in two 
other examples here recorded. They wanted faith in the divine 
power, when called on to cast out an unclean spirit, and there- 
fore Jesus rebuked them, and graciously interfered for the deli- 
verance of the sufferer. The disciples also showed much pride 
of heart in an unholy emulation for superiority — Jesus knew the 
thoughts of their hearts and reproved them. He set a child 
before them, an emblem of that unassuming, docile disposition, 
which they then so much wanted, and which we also want. This 
too is the gift of God : let us pray for it. 

The time now drew near, when Jesus must finish his work, 
and be received up on high ; and although he knew the trials 
and sufferings which awaited him, " he stedfastly set his face to 
go to Jerusalem." f The way from Galilee to Judea lay through 
the region of Samaria, and as the followers of Christ had now 
considerably increased, it became necessary that some prepara- 
tion should be made for them at those places which they in- 
tended to visit. Accordingly, messengers were sent before 
them ; but the enmity of the Samaritans against the Jews was 
so great, that the mere circumstance of their being on the way 
to Jerusalem was enough to prevent their obtaining leave to 
pass through. It is not more strange to hear the Son of God 
ask for a lodging, than to hear him refused. Upon so churlish 
a denial, two of the disciples were enraged, and with more zeal 



* 2Peteri. IG, 17. 
f rh TrpAffQiTTov avrou iariipt^f literally, he hardened his face. The neai-er our 
Lord approaclied to the ignominious cross, the more decidedly he set his face 
towards Jerusalem, not going any more from city to city, except as they lay in 
his course to the ungrateful city • what love was this ! 



CHAP. IX. 28—62.] S. LUKE. 807 

than prudence, exclaimed, " Lord, wilt thou that we command 
fire to come down from heaven and destroy them ? " Plad they 
been thus zealous in some charitable cause, the fault had been 
less, but their zeal was for the purpose of cruelty and private 
revenge. How quickly does Satan furnish them with a pre- 
tence. They quote the example of Elias. If he did so, why 
may not we ? Elijah was warranted in doing so, and was" no 
doubt specially directed to call down fire from heaven.* But 
not so the disciples. If any were to revenge the conduct of the 
Samaritans, it should have been our Lord ; but did he wish to 
injure them ? No, he never injured any person. How kind 
and favourable, even to his enemies ! Though reviled, perse- 
cuted, scourged, crucified, he injured none : yea, when one of 
his enemies lost but an ear in an evil quarrel, he healed that ear 
for him, who came to take away his life. 

Three persons of very different character are now accosted by 
our Lord : two of them have already been noticed,! the one 
too hasty in promising — the other too slow in performing ; — 
the third was inchned to cast a longing look upon the world he 
had left behind, and asked permission to return and bid farewell 
to his family. Our Lord either knew that his family would 
oppose his following him, and that his going to them would ex- 
pose him to a greater trial than he was able to bear, or, from his 
luish to return, he intended to show that we should never con- 
fer with flesh and blood, and that if we would be his true dis- 
ciples we must be ready to leave father and mother, husband or 
wife, if they impede our progress towards the kingdom of God. 
We know that when a person is ploughing, he keeps his eye 
fixed on some object before him, by which he is guided ; but if 
he allows his eye to wander from the mark, and looks behind, 
or on either side, his furrows become crooked and his work is 
spoiled. Just so the Christian ; he has a mark set before him 
— he must be continually " looking unto Jesus," and if the eye 
of faith wanders from this object, he will inevitably suffer loss. 
" Looking back," leads to " drawing back," and drawing back, 
to perdition. May we not be of the number of those " who 
draw back to perdition," but of those who " believe to the 
saving of the soul." | 

* See 2 Kings i. 10. t See Matt. viii. 19. 

+ Helj. X. 39. 



X 2 



308 S. LUKE. [chap. x. 1—24. 



CHAP. X. 1—24. 



THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST S 

MINISTERS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HEARERS CHRISt's JOY AT THE 

CONVERSION OF SOULS. 

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two 
and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would 
come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the 
labourers are few : pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would 
send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways : behold, I send you 
forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes : 
and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first 
say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace 
shall rest upon it : if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same 
house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give : for the 
labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into 
whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set 
before you : And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them. The 
kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye 
enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the 
same, and say. Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we 
do wipe off against you : notvdthstanding, be ye sure of this, that the 
kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, That it 
shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. Woe 
unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! for if the mighty works 
had been done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they had 
a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be 
more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And 
thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to 
hell. He that heareth you heareth me ; and he that despiseth you des- 
piseth me ; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. And the 
seventy returned again with joy, saying. Lord, even the devils are subject unto 
us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning 
fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and 
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy : and nothing shall by any 
means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are 
subject unto you ; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in 
heaven. Li that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from 
the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even so. Father ; 
for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my 
Father ; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father ; and who 
the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And 
he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately. Blessed are the eyes 
which see the things that ye see : For I tell you, that many prophets and 
kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen 
thnn ; and to hear tliose things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 

The twelve apostles have already gone forth with Christ's com- 



CHAP. X. 1—24.] S, LUKE. 30» 

mission to the lost sheep of the house of Israel previous to their 
general embassy to the nations of the earth ; * and now he se- 
lects seventy other disciples to go before his face and prepare 
the way for hira in his journey to Jerusalem ; these also he sent 
out two and two, that they might strengthen each other's hands, 
and to them he gave instructions similar to those which he gave 
to the apostles.f They were directed first to begin with prayer 
to the great Lord of the harvest, that he might give the divine 
blessing upon their labours, and might increase the number of 
faithful, skilful, and laborious teachers of the Gospel. Blessed 
be God, who has answered this prayer in our days, and that 
there are now gone forth to the harvest, many fit labourers, who 
enter the sacred office, not for the love of gain, but for the love 
of souls, and who esteem it their pleasure and their privilege to 
preach the Gospel of Jesus. Still there are more required ; the 
fields are white, inviting the reaper's attention ; let wspray " the 
Lord of the harvest to send forth more labourers." 

Our Lord tells the seventy disciples that they are going as 
lambs among wolves, in the face of furious adversaries, who 
would endeavour to harass and destroy them, but that they must 
commit themselves to the care of their heavenly Father, and 
that they must act like men in haste, who are despatched 
upon urgent business and lose no time in vain compliments. 
These instructions are suited to ministers of the Gospel, even 
now ; and as far as a minister wishes to resemble an Apostle of 
Jesus, in devotedness and decision, so far will he be guided by 
these rules. His employment has more difficulty and excel- 
lency, than is usually imagined ; he is to act as an ambassador 
for the greatest of kings, and upon no mean employment — that 
great treaty of peace and reconciliation between God and man, 
by Jesus Christ. | This, surely, is urgent business ; here is no 
time for loitering, or vain worldly occupation. The Christian 
minister should support, by his character, the dignity of Him 
whom he represents ; and so far as he conforms to the world, 
and its ways, so much does he lower the standard of the Gospel 
— injure his own character as a minister, and lessen his use- 
fulness. 

* Compare Matt. x. 5, 6, with Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 
+ Our Lord selected twelve apostles, probably in i-eference to the twelve tribes ; 
and seventi/ evangelists, because the Sanhedrim or great Jewish council was com- 
posed of that number ; thus shewing that their authority was henceforth set aside. 
The Vulgate gives seventy-two as the number of the disciples, supposing this to be 
the number of the Sanhedrim. Lightfoot shews this to be a mistake St. Luke is 
generally supposed to be one of the seventy. 

t See 2 Cor. v. 20. 



S-10 S. LUKE.' [chap. X. 1—24. 

But if there be a difficulty on his part who ministers, there is 
also responsibility on their's who hear. The Lord denounced 
an awful curse upon those who despised the message of the 
seventy disciples, and the very dust of the city which adhered 
to the feet of the disciples, was to be shaken off, in token of the 
utter abhorrence in which the Lord held them. Our advan- 
tages are even greater than their's and yet multitudes in our 
day hear the Gospel, and are totally unmoved by it ; some scoff 
at it as folly and enthusiasm ; others rest in a mere formal pro- 
fession of it, without any experience of its renewing and sancti- 
fying power. The preaching of the gospel is intended to influ- 
ence our hearts and lives, by turning us from carelessness to 
earnestness, from indolence to exertion, from spiritual death to 
spiritual life, from sin to holiness, and until this is effected, we 
have read and heard in vain. And must we not warn such per- 
sons ? Could we behold the present state of those who once 
inhabited Sodom and Gomorrah ; could we see their weeping, 
their wailing, their gnashing of teeth, how would our bowels 
yearn over them ! Yet grievous as their condition is, it is more 
tolerable than that which is prepared for those who neglect the 
message of the Gospel. Can we then cease to be moved with 
j)ity towards the thoughtless world ? Suppose them enjoying 
all that earth can give, yet with such woe overhanging them, 
they cannot be considered happy. The ridicule and contempt 
poured on Noah whilst building the ark, did not at all affect the 
truth of his warnings ; the flood came precisely as he foretold, 
and swept away all the inhabitants of the earth : and so it will be 
hereafter ; the Gospel will prove true, and its threatenings will 
be executed "whether men will hear, or whether they will for- 
bear." The amount of our privileges will also increase our con- 
demnation, if we trifle with them. Why was Chorazin and 
Bethsaida more guilty than Tyre and Sydon ? because they en- 
joyed the personal ministry of the Son of God, which the latter 
did not. We are living under the dispensation of the Spirit — 
woe unto us if we reject the testimony of the Spirit, given as it 
is by the word and by the ministers of Christ. It would be 
more tolerable even for Capernaum than for us, in the day of 
judgment, if we die ignorant and unconverted. 

After a short time the seventy disciples returned, and as they 
seemed more pleased with their success in expelling the devils, 
than in the triumph of the gospel over the power of Satan, our 
Lord gently rebuked them by saying, that the pov/er of work- 
ing miracles in his name, should not be a matter of so much 



CHAP. X. 1—24.] S. LUKE. 311 

congratulation, as that their names were written in the Lamb's 
book of Hfe. In the account of the last judgment, it is said that 
" whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast 
into the lake of fire." * Can there be a more important ques- 
tion for each of us to ask ourselves than this — has my name been 
written in the book of life ? It is a similar question with one we 
all ought to be able to answer ; Are we children of God in 
truth ? Are we Christians in reality as well as in name ? We 
cannot, indeed, mount up to heaven, and read our names in the 
decrees of God's love, and then take comfort that we shall be 
called, pardoned, and sanctified. This would be to begin at the 
wrong end — we must fly to the open book of redemption, and 
there read and believe the promises of mercy to guilty man. 
Our hearts and lives will be duly affected by such views of 
divine grace. We shall love him who first loved us, and thus 
we may trace our names to the book of life, and feel assured 
that the Lord has loved us with everlasting love, and with loving 
kindness drawn us to himself. What a joyful discovery is this ! 
— what cause of thanksgiving to all who really enter into it. 
But if conscience testifies that you are not a child of God at 
present, will you be content to remain in that state ? can you 
sleep at ease this night while you are conscious that if death 
overtake you before the morning, you cannot be saved ? Oh, 
rise from the sleep of sin, and pray to God, for Christ's sake, to 
bestow on you the gift of his Holy Spirit ; to make you a new 
creature, that it may be evident to yourself, and to all around, 
that you are one of those whose names are written in the book 
of life. Let not your station in life, if low, be a bar to your 
seeking these blessings. Human learning is to be attained by 
study ; but the knowledge of the Bible, and of true rehgion, is to 
be gained by prayer. Neither rich nor poor can know any 
thing, unless the Lord Jesus reveal it by his Spirit, and that 
Spirit is offered freely to all who ask it. Blessed are they who 
do ask and obtain it, for they are blessed now in the peace which 
they possess, and they shall be blessed throughout eternity. 

Note v. 18. — " I saw Satan fall from heaven." Christ evidently means that by 
the ministry and miracles of the seventy, Satanic power Avas diminished ; — a 
pledge, however, of the final overthrow of Satan's power and kingdom. Rom. 
xvi. 20. 

* Rev. XX. 11, 15. 



J3i2 S. LUKE. [chap. x. 25—42- 



CHAP. X. 25—42. 



CHRIST REPLIES TO THE LAWYER S QUESTION OUR NEIGHBOUR DESCRIBED 

CHRIST REPROVETH MARTHA, AND COMMENDETH MARY. 

And, behold, a certain lawj^er stood up, and tempted Mm, saying. Master, 
what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? He said unto him. What is written 
in the law 1 how readest thou ? And he answering said. Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy strength, and with all thy mind ; and thy neighbour as thyself. And 
he said unto him, Thou hast answered right : this do, and thou shalt live. 
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neigh- 
bour ? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jeru- 
salem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his 
raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by 
chance there came down a certain priest that way : and when he saw him, 
he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at 
the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a 
certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was : and when he saw 
him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his 
wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought 
him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he de- 
parted, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto 
him. Take care of him ; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I 
come again I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, 
was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves ? And he said. He 
that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and. do thou 
likewise. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a 
certain village : and a certain woman named Martha received him into her 
house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, 
and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and 
came to him and said. Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left 
me to serve alone ? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus an- 
swered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled 
about many things : But one thing is needful : and Mary hath chosen that 
good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 

By the term " lawyer " in Scripture is meant one who studied 
the law of Moses, and expounded it to the people. One of them 
now addressed our blessed Lord ; professing some regard for him, 
he proposed a question for his solution, not with a design of 
gaining information, but of involving our Lord in a difficulty. 
The question itself was of the utmost importance — " What shall 
I do to inherit eternal life ? " and had it been asked in simpHcity, 
it v/ould have been answered directly : but our Lord, knowing 
his heart, answered it by another question ~" What is written in 
the law, how readest thou ? " See here the importance of the 



CHAP. X. 25—42.] S. LUKE. 313 

written word of God ; we should refer to it for the way of salva- 
tion, and treasure up what we read, so that when asked concern- 
ing any point of our creed, we may be able to tell what is written 
in the law, and how we read. This lawyer g-ave a proper an- 
swer. He did not, like a Pharisee, or as many others would do, 
refer to tradition for an answer — he honestly quoted the written 
word of God, and fastened upon the two great commandments 
of the law, as those which he thought should be most strictly 
observed, in order to obtain eternal life — the love of God— and 
the love of our neighbour. Our Lord approved of what he said, 
and commended him, saying, " thou hast answered right." Here 
then both parties were agreed. But the hardest part of the 
work yet remained, Jesus adds — " this do and thou shalt live'' 
thou shalt inherit eternal hfe. We all know that the love of 
God, and the love of our neighbour, form the substance of the 
ten commandments, and if any one were to keep these holy pre- 
cepts perfectly, from the time of his birth, to the hour of his 
death, he would thereby be entitled to inherit eternal life ; 
which may explain the emphasis of our Lord's saying, "this do, 
and thou shalt live." Let us then remember that nothing short 
of perfect, sinless obedience will satisfy the holy God, and that, 
for the whole period of our lives, and if we err in a single in- 
stance, we lose our title to happiness.* We all have sinned, 
times without number, therefore we never can be saved by our 
obedience to the law. We must therefore be content to be 
saved wholly by the righteousness of another, and blessed be 
God, all that we want is provided in Christ. He has kept the 
whole law of God, and offers to place his obedience to the ac- 
count of every one who will be saved solely by him. 

But observe the difficulty in which this lawyer was placed : 
Christ having said, " this do and thou shalt live," he evidently 
saw that if further questioned whether he had done these things, 
he must confess that he had not, and that he would then be 
asked how his defects were to be supplied. In order therefore 
to get out of the difficulty, being anxious to justify himself, he 
starts another question — "Who is my neighbour?" As to loving 
God, he was willing to say no more of it, for he felt, probably, 
conscious of guilt, but as to his neighbour, he was sure that he 
had come up to the demands of the law, having been very kind 
and respectful to all about him. How many there are who re- 
semble this lawyer ! they are willing to justify themselves be- 

* See James ii. 10. 



ai4 S. LUKE. [chap. x. 25—42. 

cause they have been kind parents — dutiful children — affection- 
ate husbands or wives — or charitable to the poor. But the duty 
to God — the loving him with all the heart, all the mind, and 
above every thing else in the world, seems forgotten and set 
aside. There they must plead guilty, and therefore, hke the 
lawyer, they try to overlook that part of the law's demands. 

But, though this lawyer was so confident of having ob- 
served his duty to his neighbour, our Lord convicts him on this 
point also. He represents the case of a person who was on a 
journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, and who, falling among 
thieves, was stripped and wounded and left half-dead. A priest 
passed by and saw him, but did nothing- — -a Levite, too, passed 
on the other side, without offering assistance ; at last a kind Sa- 
maritan came, and though less might be expected from one of 
that sect, than from the other two, who were Jews, yet he gave 
him every possible rehef within his power. The lawyer could not 
but acknowledge that the last person was neighbour to him who 
fell among thieves, v/hile both the priest and Levite were guilty 
of a breach of their duty to their neighbour. Thus the lawyer 
was informed that every one of every nation, sect, or party, was 
his neighbour, and that if ever he omitted an opportunity of 
doing a kindness to a person in distress, he broke the command 
of God, who desired him to love his neighbour as himself. Let 
us apply this to ourselves. We have not even observed our 
duty to our neighbour as we ought, for we have been often guilty 
of selfishness and unkindness, or shame has prevented our reliev- 
ing a distressed neighbour. Oh, let us think of the love of 
Jesus, who came purposely to relieve us in our lost condition. 
The g-ood Samaritan is a striking' emblem of the gracious Savi- 
our, who came to bind up our broken hearts,* to pour his healing 
balm into our bleeding wounds, and to do for us what the law 
could not effect. If we have been healed by him, we shall love 
him ; and if we love him, we shall remember his words — " Go, 
and do thou likewise." 

Our blessed Lord is to be found in every house where he 
could do good — one while in a Pharisee's — again, in a pubH- 
can's — here, in the house of Lazarus, who with his sisters, Mar- 
tha and Mary, dwelt in Bethany. Happy house, into which 

* We may thus illustrate the Saviour's love by this and similar cases, hut we 
should not, like Augustine and some of the fathers, run into a minute allegorj^ 
Adara,_ the woundedman— the thieves, satanic beings — twopence, the two precepts 
of charity — healing and preaching, &c. All this is far-fetched, and certainly not 
intended by our Lord. See Mayer's excellent summary of the Views of the 
Ancients, and also Calvin's remarks in his Harmony of the Gospel. 



CHAP. X. 2.^—42.] S. LUKE. 315 

the Son of God vouchsafes to set his foot ; happy persons, in 
whose hearts he takes up his abode ! Martha, it seems, being 
the eldest sister, attended to the duties of housekeeper : Mary 
was her assistant in the charge : they were sisters in spirit, no 
less than in flesh. No sooner did Jesus enter than he began to 
preach ; before his bodily repast was ready, he provided spiritual 
food for his hosts. Both the sisters for a time sat attentively 
listening ; at last Martha's care for our Lord's entertainment 
carried her to her household concerns — Mary sat still at his feet. 
Martha cares to feast Jesus — Mary to be feasted by him. Even 
God's children have different dispositions, some quiet and con- 
templative, others, active and energetic — the latter, perhaps, 
are exposed to greater snares — to mistake energy of character 
for real zeal for God — or to neglect secret fellowship with God 
for outward labours. 

After a while Martha came to our Lord with a complaint of 
Mary's neglect. " Dost thou not care that my sister hath left 
me to serve alone ? " Jesus answered and said unto her, " Mar- 
tha, Martha, thou art troubled about many things, but one thing 
is needful." How many trouble and perplex themselves about 
the things of this life, while they totally overlook the concerns 
of their souls ! Their property, their wants, their situations, fill 
them with care : they bestow pains upon comparative trifles, and 
neglect those things which are of eternal moment. Happy they, 
who, like Mary, choose the " good part." Martha's part was 
soon done : the thanks and use of a httle outward hospitality 
cannot last long ; but Mary's " shall not be taken from her." 
Oh, the happiness of a frame of mind like Mary's, which makes 
every thing subservient to the concerns of the soul ! May we 
feel the importance of the " one thing needful." May we never 
allow any thing to be preferred before it ; and then we may rest 
assured that besides the eternal enjoyment of Christ hereafter, 
w^e shall, even here, be saved a world of care and annoyances, 
which so often choke the good seed of God's word, and drown 
the souls of men in destruction and perdition. 

Note v. 30. — Jericho was in the days of Christ a great city. Herod had given it 
a palace and amphitheatre ; a large number of priests dwelt there. It was a 
lonely road and infested with thieves, and is so to this day. 



316 S. LUKE. [chap. xi. 1— 2G. 



CHAP. XL 1—26. 



CHRIST TEACHETH HOW TO PRAY CASTETH OUT A DUMB DEVIL — THE 

STRONG MAN ARMED AND THE STRONGER, 

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he 
ceased, one of his disciples said unto him. Lord, teach us to pray, as John 
also taught his disciples. And he said unto them. When ye pray, say. 
Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom 
come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day 
our daily bread. And forgive us our sins ; for we also forgive every one 
that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation ; but deliver us 
from evil. And he said unto them. Which of you shall have a friend, and 
shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him. Friend, lend me three 
loaves ; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have 
nothing to set before him ? And he from within shall answer and say. 
Trouble me not : the door is now shut, and my children are with me in 
bed ; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you. Though he will not 
rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity 
he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you. 
Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it 
shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he 
that seeketh findeth ; a)id to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a 
son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a 
stone .'' or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent } Or if he 
shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall 
your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ? And he 
was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the 
devil was gone out, the dumb spake ; and the people wondered. But some 
of them said. He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the 
devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 
But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them. Every kingdom divided 
against itself is brought to desolation ; and a house divided against a house 
falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom 
stand ? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if 
I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out ? 
therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast 
out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a 
strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace : But when a 
stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from 
him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that 
is not with me is against me : and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry 
places, seeking rest ; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house 
whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and gar- 
nished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked 
than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that 
man is worse than the first. 



CHAP. XI. 1-20.] S. LUKE. - :317 

Our Lord constantly prayed with his disciples when they re- 
tired together, and on one of these occasions he was requested 
to give a form of prayer, such as John had given to his disci- 
ples. With this request our Lord readily complied, and de- 
livered that prayer which we call after his name — " The Lord's 
Prayer." In St. Matthew's Gospel, as already explained,* it 
seems to be given as a model of prayer — here, rather as a, form, 
and should therefore be highly prized by the christian church. 
Forms of prayer are most useful in their place, and our Lord's 
example should silence all objections to the use of a liturgy or a 
precomposed form in the worship of God. Men may indeed 
abuse this mode of prayer to the support of formality or vain 
superstition, but what good thing has not the sin of man per- 
verted to the worst purposes ? Thus it is to be feared that num- 
bers repeat this prayer daily with their lips, whose hearts do not 
respond to a single expression in it. This is nothing short of 
mocking God. 

It is a great mercy to be made so sensible of our wants, and 
of our dependence on God, as heartily to desire to pray. Jesus 
will then teach us to pray in sincerity, in spirit, and in truth — 
he will give us " the spirit of adoption" that we may truly address 
God as " our Father," and he will so shed abroad in our hearts 
love towards all mankind for his sake, that no angry feelings 
of resentment shall hinder our enjoyment of God's favour and his 
answer to our petitions. Our petitions should not be so much 
for earthly things ; we might ask for what would be highly inju- 
rious to us, and with this, the experience of every one will agree ; 
for there is scarcely a person to be found who has not lived to see 
that if some one thing which he was most anxious about, and for 
which perhaps he prayed, had been granted, it would have been 
a curse, instead of a blessing. Had not God sometimes with- 
held, in mercy, what we asked, we should have perished at our 
own request : so ignorant and bhnd is man of what is for his real 
advantage. But if our prayers are offered for spiritual things — 
if we pray for the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, 
strength to resist temptations, increase of faith, and power to 
overcome evil habits, as referred to in this comprehensive form — 
we have the surest promise of success. These things must be 
for our good, and therefore we may freely ask, and confidently 
expect an answer. We may therefore return, again and again, 
to the throne of grace, even when we have been proved by de- 

* See the Comment on Matt. vi. 9 — 13. 



318 S. LUKE: [chap. xi. 1—2(5. 

lays, and renew our earnestness in seekino^ and knocking- ; we 
shall then obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our 
hearts, and be put in full possession of the salvation of Christ. 
All these blessings our heavenly Father is far more ready to 
bestow on every one who asks for them, than any indulgent 
father can be to give good food to his hungry child ; and in this 
way we need no more fear being- deluded, than a beloved child 
needs fear lest his father should " give him a scorpion instead of 
an eg-g ; " nay, this would be far more likely — there are unna- 
tural parents, but God is love, and delighteth in answering the 
petitions of those who pray, through his Son's intercession, for 
spiritual blessings. 

A miracle is here recorded to have been wrought by our Lord, 
which equally showed his power, and the malevolence of the 
Jewish rulers. It was performed on a person who was possessed 
of a dumb devil ; not that the devil was dumb, but the way in 
which he acted on this poor man was, to make him dumb. All such 
ejections of satanic power were evidences of Christ's victory over 
the wicked one — it has been supposed that these bodily posses- 
sions were more peculiarly manifest in Christ's time — as if these 
satanic beings hated human nature in an especial degree, when 
God was manifest in it for the bruising of the serpent's head. 
We know, however, that the devil and his angels still harass the 
believer's soul, and hold the world under the bondage of sin. Thus 
what numbers are affected in the same way as this man — not alto- 
gether without the use of speech, but dumb upon those subjects 
which ought to be the chief matter of their conversation, — viz. 
the things of eternity, and the concerns of their souls. Why 
do the generality of persons speak so little on these subjects ? 
Is it not because they are possessed by the power of Satan ? 
" When the devil was gone out," we are told, "the dumb spake;" 
and when the spirit of the devil, which possesses the majority of 
the world, is removed by the power of Christ, that person loves, 
and speaks about, heavenly things. 

This miracle had a different effect upon those present. The 
multitude wondered, and were surprised, but the learned Scribes 
treated it with scorn and blasphemy. They could not deny the 
miracle, but were obliged to forge a deceit, and to say that it was 
performed by the agency of Satan : this our Lord proved to be 
false — by showing that Satan was too wise to help in the de- 
struction of his own kingdom ; and thus the cavils of these ob- 
jectors were like all such in every day, both blasphemous and 
unreasonable. 



CHAP. XI. 27—54.] S. LUKE. HI 9 

Nothing can better set forth Satan's power than the idea of a 
strong man, well armed, dwelhng in his castle, and keeping his 
goods at peace. Man's heart is that castle, where the wicked 
one loves to dwell ; he aims at keeping all the affections of the 
heart — the conscience and powers of mind, under his baneful 
influence. He stupifies the sinner by the love of sin, or lulls 
him into false security, So that we are not only unable to con- 
tend with such an enemy, in a state of nature, but we are unwil- 
ling to be disturbed in our fatal sleep, or fly from his deceit. 
Blessed be God that Jesus is the captain of our salvation — far 
stronger than Satan himself — and by word and deed he over- 
came him for us. He triumphed over this enemy by the cross, 
and from time to time, he dislodges Satan from the hearts of his 
people. One word really apphed by the energy of the Spirit 
can dispossess the usurper, and restore the heart to God. But 
some only are outwardly reformed, not inwardly sanctified — from 
these the " unclean spirit" goes out for a time ; for various reasons 
they leave off many sins, but they do not admit the Saviour to 
take possession of their hearts ; and so the enemy returns to his 
habitation, and the last state of such men is worse than the first. 
From such an awful state (let each of us say,) " Good Lord, 
deliver us." 



CHAP. XL 27—54. 

CHRIST SHOWETH WHO ARE BLESSED REFUSETH TO GIVE A SIGN AND 

DENOUNCES THE HYPOCRISY AND FORMALITY OF THE PHARISEES. 

And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the com- 
pany lifted up her voice, and said unto him. Blessed is the womb that bare 
thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, 
blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. And when the 
people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil gene- 
ration : they seek a sign ; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign 
of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so 
shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south 
shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn 
them : for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom 
of Solomon ; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of 
Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall con- 
demn it : for they repented at the preaching of Jonas ; and, behold, a 
greater than Jonas is here. No man, when he bath lighted a candle, 
putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, 
that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the 

eye : therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light ; 

but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed 



320 S. LUKE. [chap. xi. 27—54. 

therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole 
botlv therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full 
of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. 
And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him : and 
he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he 
marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said 
unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the 
platter ; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye 
fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within 
also ? But rather give alms of such things as ye have ; and, behold, all 
things are clean unto you. But w^oe unto you, Pharisees ! for ye tithe 
mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love 
of God : these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 
Woe unto you, Pharisees ! for ye love the uppermost seats in the syna- 
gogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Phari- 
sees, hypocrites ! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that 
walk over them are not aware of them. Then answered one of the lawyers, 
and said unto him. Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And 
he said. Woe unto you also, ye lawyers ! for ye lade men with burdens 
grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of 
your fingers. Woe unto you ! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, 
and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the 
deeds of your fathers : for they indeed killed them, and ye build their 
sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them 
prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute : 
That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation 
of the world, may be required of this generation ; From the blood of Abel 
unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the 
temple : verily I say unto you. It shall be required of this generation. 
Woe unto you, lawyers ! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye 
enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. And 
as he said these things unto them, the scribes and Pharisees began to urge 
him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things : Laying 
wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they 
might accuse him. 

We are very apt to esteem persons blessed, or happy, on ac- 
count of possessing external privileges, without considering that 
they do not always change the hearts of those to whom they are 
given. Christ does not deny that his mother had been pronounced 
blessed, and highly favoured, but he declares her blessing to 
consist, not so much in having been his mother, as that she was 
one who had not only heard, but valued the word of God, and 
rejoiced in him as her Saviour. In this sense, we may share the 
blessing with her, without having the same honour and privilege ; 
Christ loves them who delight in his word, but we must not be 
.satisfied with merely hearing it ; the blessing is only upon those 
who hear and meditate upon it, and, through grace, become true 
followers of the Lord Jesus. 

The people being surprised at the miracle performed by 



CHAP. XI. 27-54.] S. LUKE. 321 

Christ, mentioned in the preceding portion of Scripture, ran 
together in crowds, desiring a sign. Christ, we find, was ever 
ready to work miracles, to encourage and confirm the faith of 
honest hearers, but not to satisfy the curiosity of unbelievers. 
How preposterous of those who had seen so many miracles per- 
formed by Christ, to ask still for a sign of his being the Mes- 
siah ! Jesus seeing their hardness of heart, and unwilhngness 
to believe, declared that no other sort of attestation should be 
granted, till his own resurrection, which, he foretold, would 
happen on the third day from his death, according to its typical 
resemblance in Jonah's miraculous deliverance.* He reproved 
them for their obstinate impenitence and unbelief; and threat- 
ened them with severe punishments. The Ninevites had re- 
pented at the preaching of Jonah, but they had despised a far 
greater prophet than he was : and in the same manner he also 
referred them to the Queen of Sheba,t and warned them that 
her example would condemn their perverseness, because they had 
far greater opportunities in hearing one who spake as never man 
did, and was in all respects greater than Solomon. 

Are we then satisfied with the proofs brought in favour of the 
Gospel ? Nothing indeed but a proud disposition can lead us 
to deny their sufficiency. " Light is come into the world," and 
if our eyes do not discern its excellency, the reason is, " we love 
darkness rather than hght, because our deeds are evil," and our 
final condemnation will be more severe, in proportion to the 
brighter hght we enjoy. But if the m-ind be clearly enlightened 
by the word and Spirit of God, the light will, like the clear 
shining of a candle in a dark room, shed and spread its light 
into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and will be dis- 
played in every action of the life, and also will communicate 
light for the benefit of others. The only way to make a right 
use of our advantages, is to possess the single eye — which looks 
not to many objects in a confused way, but fixes its gaze on the 
Lord Jesus, the source of hght, and conveys illumination to the 
soul ; hence arise holy motives and a pure conscience ; but if 
our apprehension of Christ be clouded — the heart is hardened, 
and the whole man alienated from God. 

Lord, withdraw not the Gospel of thy grace, nor the blessed 
influence of thy Spirit from us ! fix thine abode in our hearts ; 
cause thy truth to shine there, giving us " the hght of the know- 
ledge of thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ." 

* See Jonah i. 17. t 1 Kings x. 1. 

VOL. I. Y 



3^2 S. LUKE. [chap. xi. 27—54. 

Our Lord throuo-hout the remainder of this chapter, describes 
very forcibly, the heartless, cold, and empty profession of religion 
with which the proud self-righteous Pharisees were satisfied, and 
in the capacity of their judge, he pronounced upon them the 
heaviest condemnation. We hear, in awful and prophetic repe- 
tition, the word of warning and denunciation breaking forth from 
his lips. What solemn things are these ! let us not then pass 
them over carelessly, but let us endeavour to apply them to our- 
selves, for whom they were written as well as for the Pharisees 
of old, and may they make a deep impression upon our hearts. 
Some of us, perhaps, are ready to say, — how can the Pharisee's 
case in the least apply to us, as we have but few ceremonies be- 
longing to the religion we profess ? This may indeed be the 
case, and yet we may resemble the Pharisees in heart, by look- 
ing to something in ourselves, to save us — our moral lives — our 
charity — our freedom from gross sin — our regular attendance on 
stated duties and places of worship. If to ourselves and our 
works we look for salvation, either in part or in whole, and see 
not our need of Christ's precious blood, as that which can alone 
cleanse us from sin — we have reason to tremble, for the woes 
pronounced upon the Pharisees by Christ, do equally apply to 
our case as well as theirs. Let us ask our hearts, is there not 
some mixture of sin in our very best actions ? — something to be 
ashamed of in all our prayers ? — something to be repented of in 
all we do ? How then could we offer an impure action to a holy 
God ? Let us then beware, how we put any thing of our own 
to what Jesus has done. His work is a finished work ; he will 
save none but those who depend on him wholly. When we come 
to Christ as our Saviour, we must leave behind us our own 
fancied righteousness and duties, and bring nothing but our 
sins, wants, and miseries. Christ must be " all in all," or he will 
be nothing. 

The last woe denounced by our Lord in this chapter against 
the Scribes and Pharisees, is for sealing up the Holy Scriptures. 
The written word of God is " the key of knowledge," whereby 
an entrance into heaven is opened to men, by revealing Jesus 
who is " the way, the truth, and the life." Great, therefore, is 
the guilt of those who hinder men from reading the scriptures, 
and from coming to the true knowledge of the will of God, re- 
vealed, not for one class of men, but for all. The Scribes and 
Pharisees, full of anger at all that Christ had said, put to him 
many artful questions, hoping to provoke him to drop some un- 
guarded expression which might be turned to his disadvantage, 



CHAP. XII. 1-31.] S. LUKE. 323 

and prejudice the people against him. Lord ; preserve us from 
taking offence where thy word convinces us of' our sinfulness ; 
may thy grace rather lead us to see our sins, and to pray for thy 
pardoning mercy, through Christ our Lord ! 



CHAP. XII. 1— 3L 

CHRIST ENJOINETH FAITHFULNESS IN CONFESSING HIM WARNETH AGAINST 

COVETOUSNESS AND OVER-CAREFULNESS ABOUT EARTHLY THINGS. 

In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multi- 
tude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to 
say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, 
which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be 
revealed ; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye 
have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the Hght : and that which . ye 
have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 
And I say unto you my friends. Be not afraid of them that kill the body, 
and after' that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you 
whom ye shall fear : Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to 
cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you. Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold 
for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God ? But even 
the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore :' ye 
are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you. Whosoever 
shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before 
the angels of God : But he that denieth me before men shall be denied 
before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the 
Son of man, it shall be forgiven him : but unto him that blasphemeth 
against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring 
you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no 
thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say : For the 
Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. And 
one of the company said mito him. Master, speak to my brother, that he 
divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made 
me a judge or a divider over you .-' And he said unto them. Take heed, 
and beware of covetousuess : for a man's life consisteth not in the abun- 
dance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto 
them, saying. The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully : 
And he thought within himself, saying. What shall I do, because I have 
no room where to bestow my fruits ? And he said, This will I do : I will 
pull down my bams, and build greater ; and there will I bestow all my 
fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much 
goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 
But God said unto him. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of 
thee : then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided ? So is 
he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And 
he said unto his disciples. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for 
your life, what ye shall eat ; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider 
the ravens : for they neither sow nor reap ; which neither have storehouse 
nor bam : and God feedeth them : how much more are ye better than the 
Y 2 



32i S.LUKE. [chap. XII. 1—31. 

fowls ? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one 
cubit ? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take 
ye thought for the rest ? Consider the liUes how they grow : they toil not, 
thev sphi not ; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was 
not* arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is. 
to-day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven ; how much more 
li'ill he clothe you, ye of little faith ? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, 
or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things 
do the nations of the world seek after : and your Father knoweth that ye 
liave need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God ; and 
all these things shall be added unto you. 

It is impossible to find a greater instance of faithfulness, than 
the conduct of our Lord here presents to us. He had been in- 
vited to the house of a Pharisee, and even while in his house he 
boldly censured the whole sect of the Pharisees, as we have 
already seen in the last chapter. This might have been thought 
by some to be a breach of hospitality, but a sense of his duty 
was paramount to every other consideration. His reproofs, as 
might be expected, greatly irritated his hearers ; yet no sooner 
had an immense crowd assembled at the door, than he went out, 
and in the presence of them all, he enjoined his disciples to be- 
ware of the hypocrisy which prevailed among the Pharisees. 
Oh, that the ministers of the- Gospel were more ahve to the 
value of immortal souls, and then they would be less inclined to 
compromise their duty for fear of giving oifence ! Men may be 
offended if we do speak — God will be offended if we do not. 
Christians of all classes are too much swayed by the fear of man. 
Scarcely does any one begin to feel a concern about his soul, 
than he is beset by this temptation. He may sometimes fear to 
join the people of God, though he knows they are the happiest, 
lest he be branded with their scornful name. His friends, per- 
haps, threaten to disown him, or his patron to turn his back 
upon him ; and then, to avoid the cross, he may be tempted to 
sacrifice conscience. Surely, " the fear of man bringeth a 
snare." But if you are a Christian, who are tempted to yield 
to this evil suggestion, and to deny your Master through fear 
of the cross, pray for strength to shake it off. " Who art thou, 
thatthoushouldestbe afraid of a man that shall die, and forget- 
test the Lord thy Maker." * Fear them not, therefore, who can 
kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do, but 
fear him, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Be bold 
then to confess the faith of Christ crucified. 

* Isaiah li. 12, 13. 



CHAP. XII. 1—31.] S. LUKE. .325 

If you be a Christian, you have no need to be over-anxious : 
for that God who takes care of the sparrows, will much more 
take care of you. Your very hairs are numbered, much more 
are your sighs — your tears — your losses. Your Father knows 
your every want, and no greater heat will he allow to the fur- 
nace, than he will give you strength to bear. Let it be known 
that you glory in the name of Christian, or saint, though they 
be terms of reproach. Confess Christ with your hps — confess 
him in your life, and let your conduct carry reproof to all who 
live ungodly, and will not have the Lord Jesus to reign over 
them.* 

A person who had been listening to our Lord during his 
address to his disciples, apprehending, that as he spoke with 
such authority, he could easily prevail to settle a dispute between 
his brother and himself, requested his interference, saying, 
*' Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance 
with me." But our Lord seeing that he was more intent on his 
temporal, than on his spiritual advancement, not only declined 
the office, but took occasion, from his example, to warn his dis- 
ciples against covetousness. He spoke a parable to them, in 
which he represents a rich man, who after amassing a good deal 
of wealth, sat down at his ease, promising himself the enjoy- 
ment of his beloved treasures. What a faithful picture is this 
of many around us ! The rich man is not said to have used any 
unjust means to increase his estate ; his fault lies in his over- 
anxious desire after money, and his determination of spending 
it on selfish and sensual gratification. Alas ! how many resem- 
ble this wretched man ! they have no proper sense of the insta- 
bility of human affairs — the uncertainty of life — the vanity of 
earthly enjoyments — the worth of their souls, or the importance 
of eternity — but seem to consider that " eating, drinking, and 
being merry," is to constitute the great business of life. Ob- 
serve the brand of infamy which our Lord fastens on this man — 
" Thou fool ! " — and listen to the awakening voice which speaks 
to him : " this night thy soul shall be required of thee." Many 
of us who are now in health and strength, and in the enjoyment 
of this world's goods, are, perhaps, planning schemes for the 
future, even for years to come. Pause and consider, that you 
have no lease of your fives. Nothing can stop the arm of death, 
when once he has received the commission to strike the blow ; 
and then what will avail your money, your schemes, your 

* For remarks on the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, see the 
Comments on Matt. xii. 22 — 32. 



326 S. LUKE. [chap. xir. 1—31. 

amusements ? Will they take from death its sting ? no, they 
will add considerably to it. Be wise now, and seek that which 
will give peace at the last. 

If we desire temporal things, for themselves, or in an undue 
degree, we fall under the Lord's sharp rebuke. All beyond 
mere food and raiment is an empty bubble. To invest earthly 
things with any inherent excellency, is to put them in the place 
of God, and to make idols of them ; and if our thoughts run 
after them, more than after God and heavenly things — what is 
this but idolatry ? True religion is far from inculcating a neglect 
of our proper lawful calling in life, but it gives us a principle 
which raises us above losses and disappointments ; it presents us 
with a view of God, as our God, and shows us that nothing in 
this world can either add to or take from our happiness, if we 
are reconciled to God through the blood of his Son. Our hap- 
piness should be independent of all earthly things ; we should 
have a principle within us which could enable us to be just as 
happy if all our earthly goods were taken from us, as when in 
the possession of them. 

Every one has some cloak wherewith to cover his sin. One 
says, " I only desire a competency ; " but a competency in 
God's estimation, may be a very different thing from what it is 
in ours. We may be desiring something unpossessed, when 
God says, " Having food and raiment, let us be therewith con- 
tent." Another says, " I care not for myself, but only for my 
family, and I ought to provide for them." But we must no more 
covet an earthly portion for them, than for ourselves ; the welfare 
of their souls should be our chief concern. Let us all " seek 
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," — let us seek an 
interest in the Lord Jesus, and to have our hearts renewed by 
his Holy Spirit. Then shall we be independent of the world. 
If rich, we shall not waste our master's goods on self, or vanity ; 
if poor, we shall not be covetous, nor distrust God. We may 
be sure that he who has clothed the flowers with such beauty as 
to throw the splendour of a Solomon into the shade, will not 
deny us necessary clothing ; that he who daily feeds the feath- 
ered tribe, will provide daily food for us. With a sense of 
gratitude for his redeeming love and fatherly protection, and 
with his peace reigning in our hearts, we may say, " Though 
the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ; 
the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield , no 
meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be 



CHAP. XII. 32—50.] S. LUKE. 327 

no herd in the stalls ; yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy 
in the God of my salvation."* 

Note on v. 17. — " I will pull down my barns," &c. Ambrose well says, "You 
have storehouses already, viz. the bosoms of the poor, the houses of the widows, 
and the mouths of infants." 



CHAP. XII. 32—59. 

Christ's followers a little flock — to be prepared for the lord's 
second coming the carelessness of the world watchfulness en- 
joined ^why the gospel is opposed. 

Fear not, little flock ; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the 
kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms ; provide yourselves bags which 
wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief ap- 
proacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will 
your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burn- 
ing : And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he 
will return from the wedding ; that when he coraeth and knocketh, they 
may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the 
lord when he cometh shall find watching : verily I say unto you, that he 
shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth 
and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the 
third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, 
that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would 
come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken 
through. Be ye therefore ready also : for the Son of man cometh at an hour 
when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this 
parable unto us, or even to all ? And the Lord said, Who then is that 
faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his house- 
hold, to give them their portion of meat in due season 1 Blessed is that 
servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I 
say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But, and 
if that servant say in his heart. My Lord delayeth his coming ; and shall 
begin to beat the men-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to 
be drunken ; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh 
not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sun- 
der, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that ser- 
vant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did 
according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew 
not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few 
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much re- 
quired : and to whom men have committed much, of him they vdll ask the 
more. I am come to send fire on the earth ; and what vidll I, if it be al- 
ready kindled 1 But I have a baptism to be baptized with ; and how am I 
straitened till it be accomplished ! Suppose ye that I am come to give 
peace on earth ? I tell you. Nay ; but rather division : For from hence- 
forth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two 

* Hab. iii. 17, 18. 



328 S. LUKE. [chap. xii. 32—59. 

against three. Tlve father shall be divided against the son, and the son 
against the father ; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter 
against the mother ; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the 
daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And he said also to the people. 
When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say. There com- 
eth a shower ; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say. 
There will be heat ; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern 
the face of the sky and of the earth ; but how is it that ye do not discern 
this time 1 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right ? 
When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the 
way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him : lest he hale 
thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer 
cast thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou 
hast paid the very last mite. 

It is a solemn reflection, and no less melancholy than true, that 
out of the multitude who profess the religion of Jesus, there are 
but very few who are real Christians, and who shall sit down 
with Christ in his future kingdom of glory. Christ has said, 
" narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and/e?/; there be that 
find it : " and here again he designates his people as a " httle 
flock." Happy, happy are we if we are among the sheep of his 
fold — if we have been " sealed with the Holy Spirit of pro- 
mise," and bear the stamp of holiness which is the characteristic 
of his believing people. We need not then fear any thing ; 
" all things shall work together for our good : " it is our Father's 
good pleasure to give us the kingdom ; let us then withdraw our 
affections from all earthly concerns, and as Jesus, the only real 
treasure, is in heaven, let our hearts and conversation be there 
continually also. Woe unto those who are only called after the 
name of Christ, without being renewed after his image in the 
spirit of their minds. We must be made Christ's sheep here, or 
we can never enter his heavenly fold hereafter. 

Our Lord, in enforcing the prospect of his second coming, 
compares himself to a master leaving his house, and appointing 
his servants their work, and commanding his porter to watch, in 
order to admit him without delay, at whatever moment he should 
return. The precise period of his return is unknown to us — the 
signs he has given us will, indeed, give notice of its near ap- 
proach ; these may arise in our day, even as the Lord may 
return to his Church in our generation ; hence we all should be 
found waiting for Christ, that " when he knocks, we may open 
to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the liord, 
when he cometh, shall find watching."* LIow vigilant should we 



On v. 35.—" Let yonv loins \w girded : " Trapp well says, " It signifies, 



CHAP. XII. 32—59.] S. LUKE. -529 

be if we knew that our house and property would be attacked 
this ni^ht ; how vigilant if we even apprehended it ; and shall 
we be less watchful in the concerns of eternity ? Our utmost 
efforts cannot delay the coming of the great judge, neither 
would the Christian wish to put it far away, if he could ; he 
rather desires to be prepared for that blessed day, and to rejoice 
in its approach. Ye, brethren, " are not in darkness, that that 
day should overtake you as a thief; " " therefore let us not sleep, 
as do others ; but let us watch and be sober." * 

What a painful sight is it to look around upon the thought- 
less world ! The majority live as if death would be the end of 
their existence ; as if there was to be no hereafter ; as if self- 
gratification was the one thing needful ; and as if the care of the 
soul was a matter quite unworthy the attention of an intelligent 
mind. What horror awaits such persons when death shall break 
the spell, and disclose the reahties of eternity ! Who can paint 
the consternation of a thoughtless wordling, whose spirit has 
been suddenly called into the unseen world, and who has been 
convinced when too late, that the concerns of his soul should 
have occupied his chief attention, and that the highest point of 
worldly interest should have been esteemed comparatively worth- 
less. Are not numbers now like the wicked servant described 
in this chapter ? They seem to delight in the thought that 
" the Lord delayeth his coming," and give themselves up to 
folly, pleasure, and worldly gratification. Too many also dis- 
turb the household by their vain contentions and wilful divi- 
sions, instead of being actively employed for the great Master, 
and usefully engaged for their fellow servants, as members of the 
church. To all who continue in their sins, or encourage false 
doctrine, heresy, and schism, the Lord will arise in terrible 
judgment, and appoint them their portion with his outcast ene- 
mies ! May none of us experience his terrible wrath in the day 
of vengeance. 

No man is left in such absolute ignorance (except by his own 
fault) as not to do many things which he knows to be wrong ; 
and to neglect many things which he knows to be right ; there- 
fore even the nations who have not had God's revelation are 
inexcusable, because they have not lived up to the light they 
possessed, t and are liable to condemnation and punishment if 
they persist in disobedience. But in proportion to the degree 

1. Readiness. 2. Nimbleness, handiness, and handsomeness. A loose, discinct and 
diffluent mind is unfit to serve God." 

* 1 Thess. V. 4, 6. t See Rom. i. 18—2.5. 



330 S. LUKE. [chap, xiii. 1—17. 

in which nations and individuals have the means of instruction, 
and are actually acquainted with his revealed will, their disobe- 
dience becomes more aggravated, and their punishment will be 
proportionably more severe. How heavy then shall be the pun- 
ishment of our land, if the advantages which raise us above 
other nations, be not duly applied ; how heavy will be our 
individual punishment, if with the gospel daily set before us, and 
the free promise of the Spirit offered, we be not found among 
the people of God ! 

Our Lord declares that the introduction of the gospel would 
resemble the kindling of a fire which should occasion a wide- 
spreading conflagration. Not that this is the tendency of 
Christianity, which is pure, peaceable, and loving ; but it is 
caused by the opposition which exists in the hearts of men to 
every thing like practical religion ; hence the opposition which 
some members of a family receive from their friends, because 
rehgion has found its way to their hearts, and has shown itself 
in their lives, whilst others are hving without God in the world. 
This is the real cause of all opposition to the gospel, because it 
will not allow men to remain in sin. God has declared that 
they who live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suff*er persecution, and 
it ought rather to be a cause of rejoicing when the ungodly 
avoid our company ; for then we have reason to hope that God 
has made us to differ from them, and that he will protect us in 
every difficulty and danger. 



CHAP. Xm. 1—17. 

CHRIST PREACHETH REPENTANCE THE FRUITLESS FIG-TREE A WOMAN 

HEALED OF HER LONG INFIRMITY. 

There were present at that season some that told him of the Gahlseans, whose 
blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus, answering, said 
unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilseans were sinners above all the 
Galilseans, because they suffered such things ? I tell you. Nay : but, ex- 
cept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon 
whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, thhik ye that they were sin- 
ners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay : but, except ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish. He spake also this parable ; A certain 
man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard ; and he came and sought fruit 
thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard. 
Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find 
none : cut it down ; why cumbereth it the ground ? And he answering said 
unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and 
dung, it : And if it bear fruit, well : and if not, then after that thou shalt 



CHAP. XIII. 1—17.] S. LUKE. 331 

cut it down. And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sab- 
bath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity 
eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up her- 
self. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her. 
Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on 
her : and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the 
ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had 
healed on the sabbath-day, and said unto the people. There are six days in 
which men ouglit to work : in them therefore come and be healed, and not 
on the sabbath-day. The Lord then answered him, and said. Thou hypo- 
crite ! doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or Ms ass from 
the stall, and lead him away to watering ? And ought not this woman, being 
a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, 
be loosed from this bond on the sabbath-day ? And when he had said 
these things, all his adversaries were ashamed : and all the people rejoiced 
for all the glorious things that were done by him. 

Some of our Lord's hearers, taking occasion, from what he had 
just spoken respecting the danger of persons delaying reconci- 
liation with God, till they were hurried, unprepared, into his 
presence, told him of some Galileans who had met a sudden 
death, having been slain by Pilate, in the very act of offering 
their sacrifices, and whose blood had been thereby mingled with 
their offerings.* But our Lord seeing that they imagined this 
calamity to be a judgment from God, on account of some enor- 
mous wickedness, rectified their error, by telhng them that nei- 
ther they who thus suffered, nor others who were buried under 
the ruins of a falling tower, were sinners above the rest, but 
that except they repented, they should all likewise perish. From 
the use of the word " likewise," some have imagined that our 
Lord alluded to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, which 
occurred at the time of the passover, when the b.lood of numbers 
was actually mingled with their sacrifices, and when multitudes 
perished by the falling of walls and towers, at that memorable 
siege. But whether this be true or not, this passage of Scrip- 
ture has a further application, both to the Jews, and to us. 
" Except we repent, we shall all likewise perish." Repentance 
literally signifies a change of heart, or mind. All, by nature, 
have wicked hearts, and all who shall be saved must be renewed 
in the spirit of their minds. This new heart gives a love for 
holiness, a hatred of sin, a zeal for the glory of God, a prepara- 
tion for heaven. Without this we never can see heaven, nor 
could we enjoy it if we were there. Bepentance is the gift of 

* This probably refers to the followers of Judas Gaulonitis, who refused pay- 
ing tribute to Caesar, and some of whom Pilate slew at one of the great festivals. 
See Josephus, Antiq. lib. xviii. 



332 S. LUKE, [chap. xiii. 1—17. 

God. Have we obtained this change of heart ? If not, let us 
pray for it unceasingly, through the Lord Jesus, for " except 
we repent, we shall all likewise perish." 

To enforce his warning, our Lord spoke a parable, to show 
the doom of all unfruitful professors of religion. He represents 
the case of a fig-tree, planted in a vineyard, where it had all the 
advantages that the care of the vine-dresser could afford. But 
after all, it yielded no fruit. A sentence of burning is about to 
be denounced on it, when the vine-dresser intercedes and begs 
that it might be spared for one year longer. This certainly was 
primarily intended for the Jews, who, above other nations, enjoyed 
the fostering care of God, and who were thus warned to be 
fruitful in proportion to their advantages.* But, much as the 
Jews enjoyed the distinguishing favour of God, we now enjoy it 
much more. The visible church of Christ is like a fig-tree planted 
in a vineyard, and each of us, individually, share the general 
bounty. We are planted in the vineyard — we have the ordi- 
nances of religion — We have the promise of the life-giving 
streams of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, the tree of life, is held 
within our reach. Let us ask what fruits have we produced ? 
May not God say of many of us — behold, these ten, these twenty, 
or these forty years, I have come seeking fruit on this tree and 
find none.f And what has stayed the execution of the sen- 
tence? the intercession of Jesus. Yet do not calculate on ano- 
ther year to come. His last plea in your behalf may have been 
made long since, and the sentence may this night go forth — 
" cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground." All who do not 
bring forth the fruits of holiness, are cumber ers of the ground, 
and all who remain such shall be burned. No genuine iruit 
can grow except from a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. This 
" faith " is not a mere cold assent to certain doctrines, — it is a 
real confidence in God's faithful promises, by which we lay hold 
on the atonement of Christ, and are made partakers of his me- 
rits. This gift produces gratitude on our part, and gratitude 
produces love and obedience. Hence, good works are said to 
be the fruits of faith. Let us recollect that the gift of faith is 
offered freely to all who ask for it sincerely through Christ. 

How easily did our Lord silence the cavils of his enemies. 

* See Psalm Ixxx. 8, 9, 10. 
+ " The three years" in which fruit was sought in vain, have been variously 
interpreted ; by Augustine, " before the law, under the law, and under grace." By 
Theophylact, " Childhood, manhood, old age." It seems rather taken from the 
age of the fig-tree, when it should have borne. God expects fruit at the proper 
time, but is long-suffering. 



CHAP. XIII. 18—35.] S. LUKE. 333 

Though this woman was grievously afflicted for eighteen years, 
they would not have her relieved, because it was the Sabbath, 
and they pretended, that to work a bodily cure was labour ; yet, as 
our Lord reminded them, they loosed their beasts of burden, and 
" led them away to watering ! " No wonder that Christ's adver- 
saries felt ashamed under such a rebuke : they pretended regard 
for God's holy day, as a reason for not assuaging the sorrows of 
this daughter of Abraham, and yet they would not treat their 
cattle so cruelly, because they knew that loss of property would 
ensue. Oh ! the selfishness of the human heart. How soon did 
Christ touch this main-spring of human depravity — how does he 
show us that all cavils against the truth flow from the ungodly 
propensities of the heart of man. The case of this afflicted 
woman may also show us, that where there is a mind anxious for 
instruction, difficulties and hindrances are easily overcome. She 
was found in the synagogue, though so grievously afflicted with 
weakness that she "could in no wise lift up herself" What a 
rebuke does her conduct convey to those who, on account of some 
shght indisposition, or for some trifling reason, make an excuse 
to absent themselves from the house of God. We have also a 
fresh proof of the Saviour's love and power, which should lead 
us to ap